Breaking: Obama to Veto Defense Spending Bill if GOP Includes Anti-LGBT 'Religious Freedom' Provision
Crucial Annual Spending Bill Appropriates $600 Billion
President Barack Obama is prepared to veto a crucial $600 billion annual defense spending bill if Republican lawmakers insist on including a controversial provision that would effectively void his executive orders banning anti-LGBT nondiscrimination. Roll Call’s John M. Donnelly first reported the news, citing senior Obama administration officials who spoke at a White House meeting Monday with groups that oppose the provision.
The Russell Amendment, named after its sponsor, Oklahoma GOP Rep. Steve Russell, would allow any religious-based entity that has a government contract to discriminate against LGBT people in what conservatives claim is an effort to expand “religious freedom.” President Barack Obama has signed several executive orders prohibiting any discrimination against LGBT workers by government contractors.
The provision was hotly contested by House and Senate Democrats earlier this year. The defense spending bill is known as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
“White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough has personally reached out to key lawmakers on the issue, the administration officials said at Monday’s meeting,” Roll Call reports, adding that “administration officials told their allies Monday that they have delivered just that message privately to [congressional] members in unequivocal terms.
President Obama has vetoed 12 bills previously and has staunchly defended what he sees as laws or executive orders that are critical to his legacy. One year ago Pres. Obama did not waver and vetoed the NDAA for issues related to spending "gimmicks” and the closing of Guantanamo.