Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT), while delivering the Republican weekly address, accused President Obama of playing games with national security by threatening to veto the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) unless lawmakers increase funding for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
He blasted Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) for saying that considering the U.S. troop funding bill is a “waste of time” because President Obama said he would veto it.
Furthermore, Zinke, a member of the House Armed Services Committee and a freshman lawmaker, told Breitbart News that he was “shocked” when Defense Secretary Ashton Carter indicated that he would not push back against Obama’s veto threat despite the adverse effects such an action would have on American troops.
Carter made those comments during a House Armed Services Committee hearing on June 17. Zinke said a presidential veto would, among other things, “eliminate a pay raise for the troops and put the force readiness at risk.”
“To be complicit with a veto of the defense authorization when the secretary knows it would have an adverse impact on our troops is unprecedented,” declared Zinke.
During the GOP weekly address, the Montana Republican urged Obama to join GOP efforts to ensure that U.S. service members have the appropriate resources and pay raise they have earned by supporting the defense authorization act.
“Mr. President, I appeal to you as commander-in-chief to stop this game your party is playing with our national security,” said the first Navy SEAL veteran to be elected to the House of Representatives. “It’s dangerous, and it’s wrong. Do the right thing, help us give our troops the resources they need and the raise they have earned.”
The 2016 NDAA would provide American troops with the resources for critical “medical supplies, food, body armor, and ammunition,” as well as an earned pay increase, noted Zinke.
He said the reason Obama has threatened to veto the bill has nothing to do with national security.
“You see, the president and his party want more money for big government agencies like the IRS and the EPA,” he said. “And in order to get it, they plan to hold our troops hostage.”
“Not only are Democrats set in blocking a pay raise for our troops, but if they don’t get more money for the IRS and EPA, they intend to shut down the entire federal government,” added the 23-year Navy SEAL veteran who served as deputy and acting commander of Special Forces in Iraq.
“Taking care of our troops should be our top priority, but it isn’t on the Democrats’ to-do list right now,” he added. “They’ve lost sight of American values in favor of Washington politics. To think President Obama still has no strategy to defeat and destroy ISIS, yet his party has a strategy to get more money for the IRS.”
Pentagon chief Carter, during the June 17 House panel hearing, indicated that he would not oppose Obama’s veto threat, arguing that the Obama administration would like to see a longer-term, multi-year budget.
“What was shocking was his comment that he would not push back against the presidential veto of the NDAA,” Zinke told Breitbart News. “That was shocking given that the excuse was that the administration and Democrats want long-term certainty in the budget.”
If the president vetoes the NDAA, it would have an adverse impact on American troops, according to the Montana Republican.
“I’ve been to war. I know the consequences and sacrifice it takes. If we must fight, we fight to win. We need to make sure our troops have the right equipment, the right training, and the rules of engagement to win decisively on the field of battle,” he said during the GOP speech. “And when we send our troops to war, we need a plan to make sure we bring them home safely.”
“Making sure our men and women are safe on the battlefield and are well taken care of when they get home, that’s the least we can do,” he added.
The Senate approved its version of the $613 billion defense authorization bill for next year. A similar draft was passed by House lawmakers last month.
Nevertheless, President Obama’s veto threat still looms.
“The authorization bill has been approved by Congress for 53 consecutive years, but hasn’t been finalized before November since 2010 and not before the start of the new fiscal year since 1997,” reports Military Times.
“Obama has threatened to veto each of the previous six annual authorization bills of his presidency, over issues like closing the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base detention facilities and disputed program continuations,” it adds.