Reuters / New York Times – 2005-10-05 02:07:46
WASHINGTON (October 3, 2005) — US President George W. Bush has threatened to veto a 440 billion dollar defense spending bill on Capitol Hill because he believes it isn’t enough money for the Pentagon. In a statement issued by the White House, Bush has also warned lawmakers not to add any amendments to regulate the treatment of detainees or set up a commission to probe allegations of abuse and torture.
According to reports from Capitol Hill, Republican Senators John McCain of Arizona and John Warner of Virginia have sought legislation banning cruel and degrading treatment of prisoners. The reports point out that the administration has been criticized for holding prisoners at GuantÃ¡namo Bay indefinitely. Critics have also questioned whether administration policies led to abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
The Senate legislation, which includes a $50 billion emergency fund to keep combat operations running in Iraq into next year, could be voted on next month. But the measure provides $7 billion less than the amount the president requested early this year and is nearly one billion dollars below current levels.
Referring to the Senate bill, the White House statement notes that Bush’s senior advisers would recommend vetoing a bill “that significantly underfunds the department (of defense)” and shifts the money to domestic programs not related to security. In addition, the White House threatened to veto the defense spending bill if it changes the process for considering military base closures within the United States.
Besides cutting some operation and maintenance accounts at the Pentagon, the Senate bill would cut the Joint Strike Fighter aircraft by $270 million and would reduce the Transformational Satellite Communications program by $250 million.
Political analysts say that the Bush administration is also upset that the Senate authorizes a missile defense program that would spend $800 million below the president’s requested budget.
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