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It's All Politics
Author: BobR    Date: 05/16/2012 13:00:54

It seems like it's only been a few months since the big NDAA brouhaha. When it was signed by the president, there were predictions of doom and American citizens being pulled from the streets as terrorists for doing nothing more than - say, protesting the government. Those dystopian visions of a future police state have not come to fruition.

In an effort to get ahead of the curve (and possibly line up some campaign talking points), the NDAA for 2013 is getting some final touches before heading to the president's desk. Once again, the president is not happy with it and is threatening veto:
The Obama Administration on Tuesday threatened to veto the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 over provisions related to Guantanamo Bay and same sex marriage.

The House Armed Services Committee approved the $642 billion defense budget last week by a 56-5 vote. The budget is $8 billion over the military spending caps imposed by the Budget Control Act of 2011.

The legislation would continue to prevent the Obama Administration from closing down Guantanamo Bay by prohibiting the transfer of detainees to the United States or a foreign country.
[..]
The defense budget would also prohibit same sex marriage ceremonies on any military installation. The White House described the provision as a “troublesome and potentially unconstitutional limitation.”

So let's see... The Republicans are trying to RAISE spending (while complaining about budget deficits), prevent the closing of Gitmo (to piss off Obama supporters), and prohibit same-sex marriage ceremonies on military bases (which we all know is a serious problem we're facing < /snark >).

Once again, this is blatant politicizing by the House Republicans of a yearly clerical obligation which should be fairly routine and benign. The desire to keep Gitmo open is consistent with previous Republican positions, but they have to know that there is a large segment of the progressive left that doesn't understand why Obama can't just use executive fiat to close it, so this plays into their meme that Obama is breaking a campaign promise. It's a double-win for the Republicans.

The same-sex marriage thing is pandering to their social conservative base. Have any gay marriages actually been performed on military bases? What does the law say about it? I assume that state laws don't apply, since military bases are essentially federal. I would assume, then, that DOMA applies. Regardless, this is just like DADT - a solution in search of a problem.

The big issue, though is that they want to set the budget at $8B over the spending caps imposed by the Budget Control Act that they themselves championed. This shows the level of respect they have for the law, and how seriously they take their own rhetoric over spending constraints.

Last year, the threat of veto was enough to get them to make language changes before submitting the passed bill to the president. I suspect that they will ride this one past the November elections before considering any changes. For the Republicans, even the military is not enough of a sacred cow to avoid political maneuvering.

78 comments (Latest Comment: 05/17/2012 01:36:36 by TriSec)
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