It was politics as usual in Washington, as President Bush decided he could issue a “pocket veto” of the 2008 defense authorization bill, killing the bill at midnight on Dec. 31, but Congressional leaders claim such a move was illegal. The holdup, at least temporarily, has cost US military members point five percent of their Congressionally approved 3.5 percent pay raise. The Administration has taken exception to a provision it says would jeopardize relations with Iraq. Democrats claim the President had ample opportunity to address this issue before both the House and Senate passed the bill. On the use of the “pocket veto,” The Hill reports that a constitutional scholar says Bush is on “weak ground” because such vetoes traditionally are issued while Congress is away for months and unable to work on a potential override.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.