Obama likely to sign revised annual defense bill

White House spokesman Josh Earnest says President Obama likely to sign revised annual defense bill

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

US President Barack Obama delivers remarks at an Organizing for Action event in Washington November 9, 2015

Updated Nov 11, 2015

White House spokesman Josh Earnest on Tuesday said US President Barack Obama is likely to sign the revised National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA) since the defence bill contains crucial provisions.

"What the president does believe … is that there are a number of provisions in the NDAA that are important to running and protecting the country. So that's why I would expect you'd see the president sign the NDAA when it comes to his desk, whenever it comes to his desk," Earnest said.

Obama last month vetoed the first version of the defence bill that renews provisions hindering the president from closing the controversial Guantanamo Bay prison camp. However, voting 72-3  on Tuesday the US Senate passed the current version of the bill.

The US House of Representatives had already passed the bill last week.

Obama says these provisions "specifically [impede the United States’] ability to close Guantanamo in a way that [he has] repeatedly argued is counterproductive to our efforts to defeat terrorism around the world."

Earnest said signing the bill "does not reflect a change in [the Obama administration's] position, or the intensity of our position, about the need to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay."

During his presidential campaign and throughout his term in office President Obama has vowed several times to close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp.

However, starting in 2009, the US Congress has been using its power over spending to block efforts to close Guantanamo.

The provisions bans the use of funds to transfer Guantanamo detainees to the US for any purpose, such as detention in prisons in the US and trials in federal courts.

To fulfill his promise Obama is planning to transfer as many detainees as possible.

Dozens of the 112 detainees that are still in Guantanamo have already been cleared for release by the prison’s interagency task force.

TRTWorld and agencies