Trump Makes Good on Threat, Vetoes Defense Bill

President's move sets up a possible override vote
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 23, 2020 2:38 PM CST
Trump Follows Through on Threat, Vetoes Defense Bill
In this Nov. 5, 2020, file photo President Donald Trump speaks at the White House in Washington.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

President Trump has vetoed the annual defense policy bill, following through on threats to veto a measure that has broad bipartisan support in Congress and potentially setting up the first override vote of his presidency. The bill, which has been passed for 59 years in a row, affirms 3% pay raises for US troops and authorizes more than $740 billion in military programs and construction, the AP reports. Trump had indicated he would veto the bill unless it included language that would repeal Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects tech companies like Twitter and Facebook from getting sued over their users' content. He has also called for stripping out language that allows for the renaming of military bases that honor Confederate leaders and has claimed, without elaboration, that the biggest winner from the defense bill would be China.

In advance of the veto, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the bill would help deter Chinese aggression. Other GOP backers of the measure, including Sen. John Thune, the second-ranking Senate leader, and Rep. Mike Gallagher, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, have tweeted that the bill would counter threats from countries such as China. Both the House and Senate passed the measure by margins large enough to override a presidential veto, though the Hill notes it's unclear how many Republicans might cross over. Trump had vetoed eight bills previously, but those vetoes were sustained because supporters did not gain the two-thirds vote needed in each chamber for the bill to become law without Trump’s signature. More context from the Hill: The 117th Congress will be sworn in at noon on Jan. 3, meaning the current Congress has until then to override the veto. If it doesn't, the new Congress will have to go back to square one. (Read more presidential veto stories.)

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