House Pentagon spending bill draws White House veto threat

September 12, 1990

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Bush administration threatened yesterday 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," Mr. Williams said.

The bill, crafted by the House Armed Services Committee before Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, would slash nearly $2 billion from President Bush's request for the Strategic Defense Initiative, would halt production of the B-2 bomber and would reduce U.S. troop strength by 129,500.

"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," Mr. Williams said.

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