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Obama ‘Very Serious’ on NDAA Veto Threat

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White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Thursday the president is “very serious” about his threat to veto the National Defense Authorization Act if cybersecurity legislation is attached. Earnest said President Obama QUESTION: So Senator Burr and some other Republicans are trying to move some cyber information-sharing legislation, and there’s been a suggestion that it be attached to the NDAA. What does the White House make of that approach? EARNEST: Well, we take a pretty dim view of that approach, to be blunt about it. The fact is we want the Senate to pass cybersecurity legislation, not play games with it. And the suggestion that they’re going to attach it to a piece of legislation that the president has already indicated he opposed is an indication that they’re interested in — more interested in playing politics than they are in actually making sure that we have all the tools we need to protect the American people from cyber hacks, either emanating inside the United States or, more commonly, abroad. QUESTION: But the White House — correct me if I’m wrong, but the White House seems to regularly issue veto threats for the NDAA, but when it comes down to it, the president signs these large defense spending bills, authorization bills. So how serious is the White House this time around about this veto threat for the NDAA? EARNEST: Very serious. And I would — this is — we’re obviously talking about some weighty policy matters when we’re talking about the National Defense Authorization Act. And, you know, the president has in the past expressed serious concerns with some of the things that members of Congress have sought to add to this legislation. But the concerns that the president has are serious and we have seen, so far in the House, that there are enough votes in the House of Representatives to sustain a presidential veto. And I think that’s an indication that the president’s veto threat should be taken quite seriously. OK.

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