The U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Al Drago / Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON – The Republican-led Senate, together with the House of Representatives, overturned President Donald Trump’s veto of a $ 740 billion defense policy bill on Friday.
The veto suspension is the first of Trump’s presidency.
The bill, known as the National Defense Authorization Act of 2021, was passed by the Senate by 81 votes to 13. The NDAA became law without Trump’s signature.
Earlier this week, with the support of more than three-quarters of the chamber, the House passed the override measure.
The Republican-led Senate convened again at noon to include the bill that Trump refused to sign because it did not override certain legal protections for tech companies.
The NDAA, a comprehensive defense bill that approves $ 740 billion in spending and outlines Pentagon policy, is usually passed with strong bipartite support and veto-proof majorities in funding America’s national security portfolio.
It was legally signed every year for nearly six consecutive decades.
An F / A-18F Super Hornet takes off from the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt.
Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alex Corona | US Navy
“Our Republican Senate just missed the opportunity to get rid of Section 230, which gives big tech companies unlimited power,” Trump wrote on Twitter in response to the bill being passed.
Trump has cited a variety of reasons for rejecting this year’s 4,517-page NDAA, questioning the bill for both what it contains and what it lacks.
The President has called for the bill to protect social media companies from the protection of language under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects them from being held liable for what users say on their platforms.
Trump, who has used Twitter extensively throughout his presidency, has long accused media of bias.
In his veto message to Congress, Trump wrote that the NDAA “has made no significant changes to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.” He called on Congress to lift the measure.
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Last month, Trump argued that the bill would favor Russia and China without giving specific details. The president has also previously said the measure poses a serious threat to US national security and electoral integrity but has given no further explanation.
US President Donald Trump speaks after the swearing-in ceremony of James Mattis as Secretary of Defense on January 27, 2017 at the Pentagon in Washington, DC.
Almond Ngan | AFP | Getty Images
“Really, this says more about the president’s defense legacy than anything else. While he has tried to label himself strong on defense, he has repeatedly shown that he is willing to set defense priorities against other domestic political priorities to trade in, “said Todd Harrison. stated the Director of Defense Budget Analysis and the Aerospace Security Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
“A good example of this was the repeated diversion of defense assets to pay for the border wall. Now the president has held the Defense Policy Act hostage over an unrelated national provision – something that would normally not be included in the Defense Act anyway,” Harrison wrote.
Harrison added that the NDAA saga “may also show that even after four years as president he still hasn’t figured out how to go about the legislative process.”
The latest reveal comes a day after Trump returned from his vacation at his private club in Palm Beach, Florida.
During the holidays the legislature tried to discuss two important pieces of legislation. The first would increase Covid’s aid payments from $ 600 to $ 2,000 if historic unemployment and business closings occur. The second was approved by the NDAA for $ 740 billion, which will at least secure the salary increases for soldiers and keep key defense modernization programs going.
While in Palm Beach, Trump spent several days playing golf on his for-profit golf course, sending 110 tweets, mostly centered on false claims of a rigged presidential election.
Trump has denied the election to Democrat Joe Biden, which will be inaugurated on Jan. 20, despite a series of failed legal challenges.
The president also went to Twitter for support for an upcoming rally in Georgia ahead of the upcoming state Senate votes. These runoff elections will determine whether Republicans retain control of the House.
President Donald Trump plays golf at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida, December 28, 2020.
Marco Bello | Reuters
Georgia’s two US Senators, Republicans Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, have positioned themselves as strong supporters of the military and staunch allies of Trump, even though neither of them voted on the override. Perdue missed the vote after quarantining himself after contacting someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
Tension among Republicans is also mounting as some Conservatives plan to object next Wednesday when the new Congress officially confirms the electoral college votes confirming Biden’s victory before he is sworn in on January 20.
Reuters contributed to this report.