Policy: Budgets & Deficits

White House supports NDAA passage

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White House,The Pentagon,Senate,National Security,PennAve,Tim Mak,Defense Spending,Budgets and Deficits

The White House announced its support for the Pentagon's annual policy legislation Thursday, shortly before the Senate prepares to pass it.

Citing a provision that would loosen restrictions on transferring detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, as well as another that would reform the military justice system to address sexual assault, the White House said it was "pleased" with the work that lawmakers had done on the legislation.

The National Defense Authorization Act is expected to pass the Senate this week. The House passed the legislation last week, with overwhelming bipartisan support. The annual authorization bill has been a highlight of bipartisan efforts in Congress over the past five decades -- passing for 51 straight years.

This year's NDAA process was tripped up in the Senate over disputes regarding amendments and which senators would be allowed votes to change the bill. The disputes forced lawmakers to scramble for a compromise piece of legislation to keep the five-decade tradition intact.

Despite indicating its approval of the legislation, the White House noted its reservations with some aspects of the bill. Lawmakers have occasionally restricted the Pentagon's ability to phase out certain weapons systems, for example, or compelled the Defense Department to make plans for programs it doesn't want or need.

"While the bill does not address all of the administration's concerns... overall the administration is pleased with the modifications and improvements contained in the bill that address most of the administration's significant objections with earlier versions regarding these issues," White House press secretary Jay Carney said.

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