By Kerry Eleveld
Originally published on Advocate.com September 15 2010 1:35 PM ET
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Wednesday that he believed President Barack Obama still intended to veto the National Defense Authorization Act if it includes funding for a controversial fighter jet engine regardless of whether a “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal measure and the DREAM Act provision are attached to the bill.
The Advocate: The DREAM Act may be included, as you know, as part of the defense authorization bill, as well as DADT repeal, will the president — does he still plan on potentially vetoing that defense authorization bill if it includes money for the [alternate] engine?
Gibbs: I know of no position change on our veto threat.
The DREAM Act is important to the immigrant community because it would create a way for undocumented youth who come to America as children to gain permanent residency through either higher education or military service. The pro-LGBT group Immigration Equality has also urged support for the provision, saying it “would benefit countless LGBT youth by providing them with a path to citizenship in the United States.”
Following his initial answer to the question, Gibbs said he would double-check on the status of the veto threat but that the president had “spent an enormous amount of time” working with Defense secretary Robert Gates on the task of “reshaping the way the Pentagon spends money.”
Gates initially started pushing a presidential veto threat for the Joint Stryker Fighter alternate engine program last spring after the House of Representatives voted to include $500 million for the alternate engine in its version of the NDAA.
Just prior to the question, Gibbs told reporters the president had been supportive of the DREAM Act as a senator and that the administration supports it now.
From the official White House transcript:
Gibbs finishing his answer from the previous question: Well, I think, Goyal, what you’re referring to is the DREAM Act, which affects the children of parents that are in the United States. The president was a supporter of the DREAM Act as a senator. The administration is supportive of that legislation. The previous administration was supportive of that legislation. And certainly it’s our hope that working with Congress we can see progress on that. And none of that will replace what has to happen from a comprehensive level and a comprehensive perspective to deal with the issues around immigration reform.
The Advocate: Can I follow on that?
The DREAM Act may be included, as you know, as part of the defense authorization bill.
Gibbs: That’s what Senator Reid has said, right.
Right — as well as “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal. Will the president — does he still plan on potentially vetoing that defense authorization bill if it includes money for the alternative engine?
Gibbs: I know of no position change on our veto threat around that.
So even if it includes “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal and the —
Gibbs: Let me see if I can get further guidance, but I think an earlier statement said that. And as I mentioned earlier, the president is enormously — has spent an enormous amount of time, as Secretary Gates has, on the tasks at hand in reshaping the way the Pentagon spends money, contracting a whole host of issues that go directly to the resources that come from our government and go through and to the Pentagon.
So no change on that position?
Gibbs: I know of no change on that.