The Bush administration Tuesday threatened a veto of a $283 billion military spending bill if approved by the House, contending the package would hamper U.S. efforts against Iraq in the Persian Gulf.
Pentagon spokesman Pete Williams raised the veto possibility as the House took up the military blueprint for fiscal 1991 in a climate of diminishing concern about the Soviet Union but growing worry about Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.``If the House bill is enacted in its present form, then the president's senior advisers and the secretary would recommend that the president veto it,' Williams said at a Pentagon briefing.
The bill, crafted by the House Armed Services Committee prior to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, would slash nearly $2 billion from President Bush's request for the Strategic Defense Initiative, halt production of the B-2 bomber and cut U.S. troop strength by 129,500.
Williams singled out those provisions, in particular the troop reduction that far exceeds the 38,000 proposed by the administration.
``That would pose an undue risk to national security, greatly complicate the department's ability to deal with the current crisis in the gulf and also rob the department of the flexibility we need to manage the force draw-down in an effective way,' he said.
The spokesman criticized the idea to station all troops permanently in the U.S. and rotate some overseas temporarily.