NDAA

Exclusive: Obama Would Veto Defense Bill Over Discrimination Issue
$600 billion-plus NDAA may hinge on contracting provision

President Barack Obama is prepared to veto the fiscal 2017 defense authorization bill if it includes a provision that the White House believes would allow some forms of discrimination in federal contracting.

So said senior administration officials at a White House meeting Monday of groups that oppose the provision, according to participants in the conclave who requested anonymity to talk about it.

Democrats Draw Line Over LGBT Provision in Defense Authorization Bill
Senate Democrats strongly oppose amendment they say would allow for discrimination

Supporters of gay marriage demonstrate outside the Supreme Court in April 2015. Senate Democrats say an amendment to the defense authorization bill could upend President Barack Obama’s executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT people. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Democrats and the White House are drawing a line in negotiations over the defense authorization bill, signaling strong opposition to a provision they say would allow for discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. 

The issue has emerged as one of the hurdles in the negotiations over the National Defense Authorization Act. An amendment added to the House version of the bill would expand protections and exemptions to “any religious corporation, religious association, religious educational institution, or religious society” that receives a federal contract.

Biden's 'Expectation' Is Obama Will Close Gitmo Prison
GOP lawmakers have blocked previous attempts to shutter detention center

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at a rally in Scranton, Pennsylvania, on Aug. 15. In Sweden on Thursday, Biden issued a renewed vow to close Guantanamo. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said Thursday he still expects that the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, will close before the Obama administration leaves office in January.

"That is my hope and expectation," Biden said during a press conference in Sweden.

How Cruz the Outsider Won Purple Hearts for Fort Hood Victims

The U.S. flag flew at half staff over the U.S. Capitol in honor of the victims of the 2009 shooting at Ft. Hood in Texas. (Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly File Photo)

Updated 7:40 p.m. | On Ted Cruz's Senate office wall hangs a framed copy of one of the Texas Republican's proudest legislative accomplishments. And like the outsider persona he touts on the presidential campaign trail, Cruz eventually voted against the bill that made it happen.  

Cruz added an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act last year in the Armed Services committee that ultimately awarded the Purple Heart to victims of the 2009 massacre at the Fort Hood military facility in Texas. Thirteen people were killed and more than 30 injured.  

Defense Bill Far From a Sure Thing in the Senate

McCain and Reed are at odds over the NDAA. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With opposition on the left gaining momentum, the Senate will consider this week the conference report for the annual defense authorization measure.  

Democrats haven’t said they’d filibuster, but the White House last week issued a veto threat , only 37 Democrats supported the measure in the House, and the Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member Jack Reed, D-R.I., refused to sign off on the conference report. The issue is the use of emergency war funding — Overseas Contingency Operations — to circumvent Budget Control Act-mandated spending caps, which Democrats write off as a “budget gimmick.”  

McCain Eager to Finish Defense Bill, but Amendment Landmines Remain

McCain hopes to complete work on the defense bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The defense policy bill could get off the Senate floor this week the easy way — or the hard way.  

Senators will enter their third partial week of floor debate on the National Defense Authorization Act when they return Monday, with a key vote to limit debate on the measure occurring Tuesday morning unless there is an agreement to change the schedule.  

Senate Will Review Militarization of Police in Defense Bill, Levin Says

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee will look into the program that provides Pentagon surplus to local police before the full Senate considers the next defense authorization.  

The Armed Services panel has already approved the fiscal 2015 defense programs bill for Senate floor consideration, and staff for Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., and ranking member James M. Inhofe, R-Okla., are working over the August recess to try and develop a defined universal set of amendments to set up for floor consideration.  

Rep. Denham to Continue to Push for ENLIST Act in NDAA

Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif. (Douglas Graham/Roll Call File Photo)

The Republican leadership of the House has signaled its intent to block consideration of any immigration-related amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act this week, but Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., hasn't given up — yet.  

Denham, who caused a stir last month by pledging to force a House vote on an amendment to the NDAA that would create a legal status pathway to undocumented immigrants who served the military — the so-called ENLIST Act — has filed that amendment with the House Rules Committee, which was set to meet Monday evening to determine whether to allow that amendment, and countless others, to be subject for debate. Denham is also asking the Rules Committee to allow consideration of an amendment that would call upon the secretary to Defense to compile a report on the number of undocumented immigrants who have, since 2000, enlisted in the military and gone onto obtain citizenship.