WASHINGTON – Parliament on Monday voted to override President Trump’s veto of the annual military policy bill by raising bipartisan support to legislate on the President’s objections and him in the final days of his presidency issued a rare legislative reprimand.
The 322-87 vote marks the first time a Chamber of Congress has agreed to override any of Mr. Trump’s vetoes, underscoring the widespread popularity of military legislation allowing a raise for the nation’s troops. It was also a notable reference to the president’s decision to disregard one of his party’s key orthodoxy – projected military strength – by Republicans who were unwilling to challenge Mr Trump during his four-year tenure.
The margin exceeded the two-thirds majority required to force passage of the law on Mr Trump’s objections. The Senate, which must also be approved by two-thirds of its chamber, will begin legislation later in the week.
Attempts to get it passed quickly in the Senate, however, could be hampered by Senator Bernie Sanders, regardless of Vermont, who said Monday that if lawmakers didn’t vote on a separate bill, he would delay the review of the military bill – one that would increase the size of the individual stimulus checks to $ 2,000.
Parliament passed its own bill on Monday to increase direct stimulus payments from $ 600 to $ 2,000, which are included in the coronavirus bailout package that Mr Trump signed on Sunday. This prompted several senators, including Sanders and New York Democrat Chuck Schumer, to call for a similar Senate vote.
In an interview Monday night, Mr. Sanders said he plans to block an attempt by Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, on Tuesday to expedite scrutiny of military-political law, unless Mr. McConnell pledged the greater relief to bring checks on the floor for a vote. This could force lawmakers to stay in Washington until New Years Day to push for the veto override.
“Millions of families in America today are desperate and the Senate needs to get its job done through a vote,” said Sanders.
Congress has managed to pass the military law every year for 60 years. Legislators appreciate the opportunity to show their support for national security and bring home victories to its constituents.
But Mr Trump, who had defied a month-long string of threats, vetoed the bipartisan legislation on Wednesday, citing a rotating list of reasons, including his objection to a provision that the military instructs the names of leaders of the Confederate from the bases. He also called for the bill to include the lifting of a legal shield on social media companies that he has become involved with. A major change in law that Republicans and Democrats alike have made is irrelevant to any bill that dictates military policy.
High-level lawmakers who led the legislation had hoped that a veto-proof majority in favor would get Mr. Trump to sign the bill. Their willingness to mow over Mr Trump’s objections to move the move forward was a marked departure from the homage the president normally received on Capitol Hill.
The last time Congress overruled a presidential veto was in 2016, the final year of Barack Obama’s presidency after vetoing laws that allowed families of victims of September 11, 2001, to attack to sue the government of Saudi Arabia. Legislators have tried – but failed – to override Trump’s legal vets that cut off arms sales to Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states and a doomed attempt to overturn its declaration of emergency on the southwestern border.
On no other issue were Republicans more willing to break away from the president than on issues of national security, but these defiant statements were seldom more than symbolic statements. It certainly didn’t help the president that the override vote came days after his sharp criticism of the $ 900 billion coronavirus relief deal that Republican lawmakers voted for, leaving some in his own party to talk about complaining that he threw her under the bus.
“Today the House reaffirmed in a resounding, bipartisan manner that our service members and national security are more important than politics,” said Representative Adam Smith, Democrat of Washington and chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. “In overriding the presidential veto, the House prioritized compromise and sound policies over legislative nihilism and blind political loyalty.”
The military policy bill includes a number of bipartisan measures, including new benefits for tens of thousands of Vietnam-era veterans exposed to Agent Orange, a 3 percent increase in service member wages and an increase in compensation for dangerous levies.
It would also take steps to slow or block Mr Trump’s planned withdrawal of American troops from Germany and Afghanistan, and it would make it difficult for the president to deploy military personnel on the southern border.
Legislation also directly addresses the racial justice protests sparked by the police killing black Americans, including George Floyd, this summer. All federal officials who enforce crowd control during protests and demonstrations would have to identify themselves and their authorities. And it includes the bipartisan move directing the Pentagon to begin renaming military bases named after Confederate leaders, a provision the Democrats fought to uphold.