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Congressman Dan Donovan

Representing the 11th District of New York


Donovan Blasts President Obama for Playing Politics with Troop Pay, Funding to Fight ISIS

October 23, 2015
Press Release
Obama vetoed bill to raise troop salaries, establish new military retirement system, and fund operations against ISIS


Obama vetoed bill to raise troop salaries, establish new military retirement system, and fund operations against ISIS


Washington, DC—October 23, 2015....Congressman Dan Donovan (NY-11) today lambasted President Obama’s decision to hold troop pay increases and critical military funding hostage in order to advance his domestic agenda. It’s the first time in the history of the Department of Defense that a president has used authorization for military spending as a pawn in domestic politics.

Congressman Donovan said, “With all due respect, it’s outright shameful for President Obama to veto legislation to pay our troops and fight terrorists because he didn’t get his way on his pet domestic projects. I’m appalled that the Commander in Chief would jeopardize American security and the retirement plans for thousands of troops just to make a political point. I’ve voiced opposition to some of the political jockeying tactics used in my own conference, but this goes above and beyond. It’s disgraceful.”

President Obama vetoed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), legislation which the Department of Defense legally needs in order to increase pay for the troops, purchase needed equipment, and implement our strategy to defeat ISIS. The NDAA has never failed to become law for 53 consecutive years. This year, the legislation includes pay raises for the men and women who risk their lives to keep us safe. The bill also reforms the military’s retirement system to allow those with less than 20 years of service to save for their later years. Right now, 83 percent of service members leave the armed forces without any retirement benefit because they did not serve the requisite 20 years. These reforms are now in jeopardy because the President chose to play politics with the most selfless servants in our country.

Congressman Donovan continued, “The President, who has been such a proponent of give-a-little, get-a-little compromise, is using legislation to fight terrorists and give new retirement options to our troops as bait to increase spending on other programs. It’s hypocritical and dangerous, and Congress must override the President’s veto.”

The President’s intransigence has real consequences for American security and our men and women in uniform. Taxpayers will also suffer, because important reforms to the acquisition process designed to prevent cost-overruns will not become law. The NDAA passed with overwhelming support from Democrats and Republicans. The House passed the legislation by a 270-156 margin, and the Senate passed it by a 70-27 margin.

Congressman Donovan concluded, “The NDAA includes important provisions with support from across the political spectrum. It should not be subject to a dangerous ultimatum from the Administration. I urge my colleagues – many of whom voted to support the NDAA when it passed Congress – to put politics aside and do the right thing: override the President’s veto.”