Congress has overridden President Donald Trump’s veto of a defense policy bill, the first time lawmakers have done so since he took office nearly four years ago.
In a New Year’s Day session, the Republican-controlled Senate easily defeated the veto, dismissing Trump’s objections to the $740 billion bill.
Trump had lashed out at GOP lawmakers on Twitter, writing earlier this week that “Weak and tired Republican ‘leadership’ will allow the bad Defense Bill to pass.″
Weak and tired Republican “leadership” will allow the bad Defense Bill to pass. Say goodbye to VITAL Section 230 termination, your National Monuments, Forts (names!) and Treasures (inserted by Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren), 5G, and our great soldiers….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 29, 2020
The 81-13 vote in the Senate followed an earlier 322-87 override vote in the House, which Trump called a “disgraceful act of cowardice and total submission by weak people to Big Tech.”
The bill includes a 3 percent pay raise for U.S. troops and guides Pentagon policy, cementing decisions about troop levels, new weapons systems and military readiness, personnel and other goals.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said before the vote that Congress has passed the National Defense Authorization Act every year for 59 years in a row, “and one way or another, we are going to complete the 60th annual NDAA and pass it into law before this Congress concludes on Sunday.”
The bill “looks after our brave men and women who volunteer to wear the uniform,” McConnell said.
“But it’s also a tremendous opportunity: to direct our national security priorities to reflect the resolve of the American people and the evolving threats to their safety, at home and abroad. It’s our chance to ensure we keep pace with competitors like Russia and China.”
The Senate override was delayed after Sen. Bernie Sanders objected to moving ahead until McConnell allowed a vote on a Trump-backed plan to increase coronavirus relief payments to $2,000.
McConnell did not allow that vote, overcoming a filibuster threat by Sanders and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer.
Without a bipartisan agreement, a vote on the bill could have been delayed until Saturday night. Lawmakers, however, agreed to an immediate roll call on Friday once the filibuster was averted.
Trump rejected the defense measure last week, saying it failed to strip legal protections from social media companies like Twitter and Facebook.
Trump also opposed a provision that allows for the renaming of military bases that honor Confederate leaders.
Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he was “disappointed” with Trump’s veto and called the bill “absolutely vital to our national security and our troops.″
“This is the most important bill we have,″ Inhofe said. “It puts members of the military first.″
Earlier this week, 130 House Republicans voted against the Trump-backed coronavirus relief checks, with many arguing they were unnecessary after $600 payments were approved on Sunday.
The Democratic-controlled House supported the larger payments, but the plan is dead in the Senate.
Apart from his concerns about social media and military base names, Trump also said the defense bill restricted his ability to conduct foreign policy, “particularly my efforts to bring our troops home.″
Trump was referring to provisions in the bill that impose conditions on his plan to withdraw thousands of troops from Afghanistan and Germany. The measures require the Pentagon to submit reports certifying that the proposed withdrawals would not jeopardize U.S. national security.
Trump has vetoed eight other bills, all of which were sustained because supporters did not win the two-thirds vote needed in each chamber for the bills to become law without the president’s signature.
The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.
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