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Congressman Jason Smith

Representing the 8th District of Missouri

Capitol Report: President Obama is Holding America's Troops Hostage

Oct 23, 2015
Weekly Capitol Report

Something historic happened Thursday afternoon. While many eyes were focused on Hillary Clinton's testimony at the Benghazi Hearing on Capitol Hill, President Obama brazenly vetoed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a bill that funds America's national security and has been signed into law for each of the last 50 years. The bill passed the House and Senate with bipartisan support, and gave the president every penny he asked for to keep America safe.  But, the president is playing politics with our troops.  He vetoed this bill because he wants to increase spending on other government programs. President Obama is holding our troops hostage to try to pressure Congress into putting America even further in debt.

The president should support this important legislation which makes positive reforms to the military compensation and benefits system that our troops deserve. Previously, 83 percent of service members were not eligible to participate in a retirement plan, but with this bill, service members will be able to contribute to a savings plan and receive matching contributions from the Department of Defense. The NDAA also gives our brave military men and women a pay raise.  The bill preserved Basic Allowance for Housing for dual military couples and rejected the president's drastic increases to TRI-CARE pharmacy copays.

The NDAA authorizes the funds necessary to pay our troops, protect our country and keep Americans safe and this veto is dangerous. During the turbulent time we live in, the United States should not let its guard down.  Currently, Russia is threatening the Ukraine, providing support to Iran and Syria, and probing U.S. air space. Additionally, China is setting up for potential major military action in the South China Sea and building artificial islands to be better poised to take over territories. The Middle East is a mess and the horrific acts of ISIS continue to threaten Americans and Christians around the world. As I've said before, instead of eliminating threats, President Obama is creating them.

We all have loved ones, whether friends or family, in the military. I think of the folks in the community of Ft. Leonard Wood. They've already been hit with the news of the president's reductions to troop strength and the ensuing loss of jobs. We need to provide those military families who sacrifice so much on our behalf, the certainty that we will support them through thick and thin.  Vetoing the NDAA does not do that. It's time for Congress to come together and override the president's veto and do right by our service members.