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Cleaver, Huelskamp oppose final defense authorization bill

A-10 Warthogs from Whiteman Air Force Base Photo: Jim Barcus/The Kansas City Star
A-10 Warthogs from Whiteman Air Force Base Photo: Jim Barcus/The Kansas City Star

It isn’t every day you find U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver and U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp on the same side of an issue. Thursday, though, the Democrat and the Republican voted against the final version of the $612 billion National Defense Authorization Act, a bill designed to provide a blueprint for military spending in the fiscal year.

The final bill passed the House and is on its way to the Senate. If it passes there it will go to the White House, where President Barack Obama has threatened a veto.

Obama and Democrats say the bill supersedes budget caps that still exist for non-defense spending. Republicans say the bill doesn’t actually spend any money, and that the new programs are needed.

“Providing the resources for a strong military is a critical responsibility of the federal government,” said a statement from U.S. Rep. Sam Graves, who voted for it.

Although the bill passed the House, it did not pass with a veto-proof margin. Only 10 Republicans opposed the bill, including Huelskamp.

“This flawed bill once again uses budget gimmicks to get around the spending caps established by Washington,” his statement said. “By adding an additional $38 billion in off-budget spending, Congress is failing once again in its responsibility to follow the laws it passes.”

The bill, among many other things, makes it harder for the Air Force to retire the A-10 aircraft, known as the Warthog. Some of the planes are stationed at Whiteman AFB in Knob Noster. It also broadly prohibits use of any money to transfer detainees now held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

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