In a monumental show of defiance, President Obama has announced that he will veto the $612 billion defense bill proposed by our Republican-controlled Congress, fed up with their hollow appeals to fiscal austerity while using backhanded machinations to sneak in more funding for the military. Since Congress began passing National Defense Authorization bills in 1961, they have only been vetoed four times in the past fifty-three years, but this marks a seismic climax of tension between the White House and extremist Tea Party rabble that have seized control of our legislative houses and plunged them into chaos.
President Obama has had it with Republican refusals to increase domestic spending and lift the sequestration caps instituted during the fabricated “fiscal cliff” crisis, while attempting to sneak in another $38 billion for the military. He also roundly objects to the bill’s measures which would keep the notorious prison at Guantanamo Bay operational, which Obama has vowed to close. But at the heart of it, President Obama is calling the legislative terrorists in the House and Senate on their bluff. It’s time we started spending on our nation again, investing in our communities and infrastructure, in our social programs and our historic institutions, and President Obama is tired of letting these hypocritical zealots hold our economy hostage on the budget every single year, with never a penny for our own people but somehow still have money to throw at useless foreign wars.
“The concerns that we’ve expressed about it is it advocates essentially the use of a slush fund for funding critically important national security priorities. We believe that’s utterly irresponsible” said White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest. Republicans have circled the wagons and promised to override the veto, crying crocodile tears about supporting our troops. Democrats believe they have enough votes to sustain the veto. Only time will tell how this plays out; it may be the first conflict of a much bigger war that comes to a head in December, when the short-gap funding bill expires. Either way, President Obama has made a defiant stand on behalf of the American people, and for that, we applaud him.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.