WASHINGTON – Congress has overridden President Donald Trump’s veto of a defense policy bill that was first passed by lawmakers since he took office nearly four years ago.
In an extraordinary New Year’s session, the Republican-controlled Senate slightly dismissed the veto, dismissing Trump’s objections to the $ 740 billion bill and giving him a stinging reprimand a few weeks before his term ended.
Trump protested against GOP lawmakers on Twitter, indicting earlier this week that “a weak and tired Republican” leadership “will let the bad defense law pass.”
Trump called the impending override vote a “shameful act of cowardice and total submission of weak people to big tech. Negotiate a Better Bill or Get Better Guides NOW! “
The 81-13 Senate vote followed an earlier 322-87 override vote in the House of Widespread Defense Measure. The bill provides a 3 percent pay increase for US troops and guides defense policy, cementing decisions about troop strength, new weapon systems and military readiness, personnel policies, and other military objectives. Many programs, including military build-up, cannot come into effect unless the bill is approved.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Said before the vote that Congress has passed the National Defense Authorization Act every year for 59 consecutive years: “One way or another we are going to complete the 60th annual NDAA and pass it before this Congress ends on Sunday. ”
The bill “cares for our brave men and women who volunteer to wear the uniform,” McConnell said. “But it’s also a tremendous opportunity: to align our national security priorities to reflect the determination of the American people and the evolving threats to their security at home and abroad.” This is our chance to make sure we keep up with competitors like Russia and China. “
The Senate override was delayed after Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Objected to how to proceed until McConnell allowed a vote on a Trump-backed plan to increase COVID-19 aid payments to $ 2,000. McConnel did not allow this vote; Instead, he used his parliamentary power to launch a debate to limit the vote on the defense measure and overcome a filibuster threat posed by Sanders and New York City Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer.
Without a bipartisan agreement, a vote on the bill could have been postponed until Saturday evening. However, lawmakers agreed to an immediate appeal on Friday once the filibuster threat stopped.
Trump denied the defense measure last week, saying it didn’t curtail the social media companies he claimed were biased against him during his failed re-election campaign. Trump also opposed language that would allow military bases to be renamed that honor Confederate leaders.
Senator Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., Chairman of the Senate Armed Forces 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,” said Inhofe. “It puts the military first.”
Trump managed to enforce party discipline in Congress during his four-year tenure, and few Republicans are willing to publicly oppose him. The defense law’s bipartisan overrides showed the limits of Trump’s influence in the final weeks of his tenure.
Earlier this week, 130 House Republicans voted against Trump-backed COVID-19 relief controls. Many argued that they were unnecessary and that they would add to the federal budget deficit.
The Democratically controlled house approved the larger payments, but the plan is dead in the Senate, yet another sign that Trump is paleizing Congress.
In addition to his concerns about the social media and military base names, Trump also said the Defense Act limits his ability to conduct foreign policy, “particularly my efforts to get our troops home.” Trump was referring to provisions in the law imposing conditions on his plan to withdraw thousands of troops from Afghanistan and Germany. The measures require the Pentagon to submit reports showing that the proposed withdrawals would not pose a threat to US national security.
Trump vetoed eight other bills, but those were all upheld because supporters did not get the two-thirds of the votes required in each chamber for the bills to become law without Trump’s signature.
Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed, the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Forces Committee, described Trump’s veto on December 23 as a “parting gift” to Russian President Vladimir Putin and a lump of coal for our troops. Donald Trump indicates more devotion the names of the Confederates as to the men and women who defend our nation. “