White House Issues Veto Threat of Defense Policy Bill, Cites Requirement to Rename Military Bases

Entrance to Fort Hood Army Base in Fort Hood, Texas. (Photo: Jack Plunkett, AP)
Jack Plunkett/AP

The White House on Tuesday threatened to veto the annual defense policy bill over several provisions, including one that would require the Pentagon to rename military bases named after Confederate leaders, if Congress sent it to the president in its current form.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a statement that said, “If H.R. 6395 were presented to the President in its current form, his senior advisers would recommend that he veto it.”

The statement said: “Among other major provisions, the Administration strongly objects to section 2829, which would require renaming of certain military institutions.” It added:

Over the years, these locations have taken on significance to the American story and those who have helped write it that far transcends their namesakes. The Administration respects the legacy of the millions of American servicemen and women who have served with honor at these military bases, and who from these locations have fought and died in two World Wars, Vietnam, the War on Terror, and other conflicts. Further, the drive to rename will not stop at the limits written into section 2829. Section 2829 is part of a sustained effort to erase from the history of the Nation those who do not meet an ever-shifting standard of conduct.

Beyond section 2829, loud voices in America are also demanding the destruction or renaming of monuments and memorials to former Presidents, including the our first President, George Washington; the author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson; and the Great Emancipator, Abraham Lincoln. President Trump has been clear in his opposition to politically motivated attempts like this to rewrite history and to displace the enduring legacy of the American Revolution with a new left-wing cultural revolution.

Asked if he opposed renaming bases named after Confederate generals, President Trump said Sunday during an interview on Fox News, “Go to that community where Fort Bragg is, in a great state, I love that state, go to the community, say, ‘How do you like the idea of renaming Fort Bragg, and then what are we going to name it?'”

The OMB statement also said the administration has “serious concerns” about other provisions of the bill that seek to “micromanage aspects of the executive branch’s authority, impose highly prescriptive limitations on the use of funds for Afghanistan, and otherwise constrain the President’s authority to protect national security interests.”

“Many of these provisions would pose significant challenges to continued execution of the [National Defense Strategy],” the statement said.

Threats to veto the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), are not uncommon.

The OMB during the Obama administration regularly issued veto threats of the bill, which authorizes Pentagon activities and spending, but President Obama only vetoed it once in 2015.


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