President Barack Obama issued the fifth veto of his presidency yesterday, rejecting the $612 billion National Defense Authorization Act, which included a provision to allow armed forces members to carry an appropriate firearm on domestic military installations.
According to a statement from Corker’s office, the bill provided a provision that would require the secretary of defense to establish a process for commanders to authorize service members to carry a firearm on domestic military facilities—including recruiting centers—if necessary.
Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Chattanooga native, said he thinks it of first concern for military members to have the means of protecting themselves. He also said he was discouraged by the veto.
The challenges our nation faces are vast, and I can think of no higher priority than ensuring our men and women in uniform have the tools necessary to protect and defend U.S. interests at home and abroad. [The bill] puts in place an important process by which commanders on the ground in the U.S. are given the power to determine the best ways to protect those who serve here at home. I am extremely disappointed the president is blocking this important, bipartisan legislation.
The NDAA passed the Senate by a vote of 70–27 and the House of Representatives by a vote of 270–156, a news release said.
The provision for arming personnel at domestic military installations was just one part of a much larger bill.
According to the congressional website, the bill would have provided funding for military activities of the Department of Defense, military construction and national security programs of the Department of Energy for the 2016 fiscal year.
A full summary of the NDAA and its provisions and authorizations can be found here.
Obama gave a five-minute speech explaining his reasoning behind vetoing the NDAA, and it can be seen here.
Though he ultimately disagreed with the proposed legislation, Obama said he did like certain aspects of it.
"The bill that’s before me, authorizing our defense spending for this year, does a number of good things," Obama said. "It makes sure that our military is funded. It has some important provisions around reform for our military retirement system, which is necessary to make sure that it is stable and effective. It’s got some cybersecurity provisions that are necessary for an increasing threat."
However, Obama said the NDAA fell short in three areas:
—"No. 1, it keeps in place the sequester that is inadequate for us to properly fund our military in a stable, sustained way and allows all of our armed forces to plan properly," Obama said.
—"No. 2, unfortunately, it prevents a wide range of reforms that are necessary for us to get our military modernized and able to deal with the many threats that are presenting themselves in the 21st century," Obama said.
—"And the third thing is that this legislation specifically impeded our ability to close Guantanamo in a way that I have repeatedly argued is counterproductive to our efforts to defeat terrorism around the world," Obama said.
Obama said he will be sending the NDAA bill back to Congress.
Republicans have arranged to vote again to override the veto Nov. 5.