President Trump Monday issued a statement
pointing to “constitutional concerns” about some of the provisions in the Fiscal 2019
defense authorization bill he signed
Trump’s statement referred to the legislation as “H.R. 5515, ‘an Act to
authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2019 for military activities of the
Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense activities of
the Department of Energy, to prescribe military personnel strengths for such
fiscal year, and for other purposes.’” That is the law’s
long title, but its official short title is the ‘John S. McCain
National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019,’’ named for ailing
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.), who has clashed
with Trump in the past.
In his statement, Trump cited language
relating to limits on funds to retire JSTARS aircraft;
limiting the reduction of ICBMs; and a section on the acceleration of the Missile Defense Agency’s hypersonic missile defense program, among other provisions,
saying they “purport
to restrict the President’s authority to control the personnel and materiel the
President believes to be necessary or advisable for the successful conduct of
“While I share the objectives of the Congress with respect to
maintaining the strength and security of the United States, my
administration will implement these provisions consistent with the President’s
authority as Commander in Chief,” he said.
also pointed to other language, including a section relating to an inventoryrequirement for tankers and limiting the retirement of KC-10As; the J-STARS provision; limiting funds for implementation of the OpenSkies Treaty; limiting the use of funds to reduce the number of USservice members deployed to South Korea; and calling for
certifications regarding actions by
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in Yemen and linking those certifications to the use of federal funds for refueling of
Saudi or Saudi-led coalition non-US aircraft in Yemen.
said he was repeating “the longstanding understanding of the executive
branch” that these sorts of provisions “encompass only actions for which such
advance certification or notification is feasible and consistent with the
President’s exclusive constitutional authorities as Commander in Chief and as
the sole representative of the nation in foreign affairs.”
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