Bush To Veto Defense Authorization Bill

In a move that appears to be catching Congress off guard, President Bush says he'll reject a defense policy bill.

The White House says he plans to veto the legislation because it
would derail Iraq's reconstruction efforts.

In addition to giving members of the military a pay raise, the act also prohibits the Navy from building an OLF site in Washington & Beaufort counties.

The decision is based on a provision that Democrats say would allow victims of Saddam Hussein to seek compensation in court. The White House says allowing plaintiffs to immediately freeze Iraqi funds would expose the country to "massive liability in lawsuits" over the executed Iraqi dictator. It says once they're in place, the restrictions could take months to lift.

The White House says a fragile Iraq cannot afford to have money tied up in U.S. lawsuits.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid say the president should have raised his objections before Congress
sent the bill to his desk. And, they charge he is bowing to the demands of the Iraqi government.