Trump Vetoes $740 Billion Defense Bill, Congress Gears Up For Possible Override Vote
President Donald Trump vetoed a $740 billion defense policy bill on Wednesday, potentially setting the stage for Congress’ first successful override vote. The bill affirms 3% pay raises for U.S. troops and authorizes billions of funding for military programs and construction.
“I will not approve this bill, which would put the interests of the Washington, D.C. establishment over those of the American people,” Trump said of the National Defense Authorization Act.
He called out lawmakers’ refusal to repeal Section 230, which protects online platforms from certain liabilities, as well as the renaming of military bases honoring Confederate figures, as reasons for the veto.
“Unfortunately, the Act fails to include critical national security measures, includes provisions that fail to respect our veterans and our military’s history, and contradicts efforts by my Administration to put America first in our national security and foreign policy actions,” he said. “It is a ‘gift’ to China and Russia.”
The bill has easily passed for 59 consecutive years. This year, the House passed it 335-78 and it made its way through the Senate with an 84-13 vote.
Those margins are considered large enough to override Trump, though some Republicans who voted for the bill may opt not to go against the president’s wishes. Two-thirds of Congress would have to vote for the bill in order to override the veto. The House has scheduled a vote for Monday, and it would then go to Senate on Tuesday.
Both Democrats and Republicans have urged lawmakers to ensure the NDAA passes.
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) encouraged Congress to “use another legislative vehicle to repeal Section 230.”
“The NDAA has become law every year for 59 years straight because it’s absolutely vital to our national security and our troops,” Inhofe said Wednesday. “This year must not be an exception.”
House Armed Services Chair Adam Smith (D-Washington) similarly underscored the need for the NDAA, though he also directly attacked Trump in his criticism.
“By choosing to veto the NDAA, President Trump has made it clear that does not care about the needs of our military personnel and their families,” he said. “I remain confident that Congress will override this harmful veto.”