October 10 2002

Bush Threatens Veto of Defense Bill
President Wants Costly New Disabled Military Pension Benefits Eliminated

By Vernon Loeb
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 7, 2002

Alarmed by the cost of expanding military entitlement programs, President Bush has threatened to veto the $355 billion defense authorization bill for the new fiscal year if House and Senate conferees do not eliminate new pension benefits for disabled military retirees that could cost from $18.5 billion to $58 billion over the next decade.

"We simply cannot continue to add ever-expansive obligations to the defense budget," Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said in a letter to the conferees, who could decide the issue this week. "This would divert critical resources away from the war on terrorism, the transformation of our military capabilities and important personnel programs such as pay raises and facilities improvements."
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