President Barack Obama tied his veto threats on the budget to national security Monday, calling things such as education, research and other items key, over the long term, to the defense of the United States.
"Our men and women are going to get paid," he said, saying soldiers haven't missed a paycheck while he's been president, even though he's had plenty of wrangling with Congress.
But, he said, he would not accept a budget that shortchanges the future.
"We're not going to eat our seed corn," he said.
Obama said the military has the best troops in the world in part because "we've got a strong economy and we've got a well-educated population and we've got an incredible research operation and universities. ... We shortchange those, we're going to be less secure.
"Part of our national security is making sure that we have a strong economy and that we continue to make investments in things we need like education and research."
Obama, who answered two questions at the Pentagon after convening a meeting of his senior military advisers on the Islamic State terror group, or ISIL, also said he has no plans to send additional troops overseas but would do what's necessary to protect the homeland. He said a key is to create local security forces that can sustain progress on the ground in Iraq and Syria against ISIL.
If the United States went in against every terrorist group on its own, Obama said, we'd be playing "Whack-a-Mole."