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US Senate lawmakers voted 81-13 on 1st if January to override President Trump’s veto of the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act just days after the House did the same in a 322-87 vote in that chamber. It is the first time Congress has voted to override Trump’s veto of legislation.
The Senate and House each passed the $740 billion defense policy bill with veto proof majorities earlier this month. Then Trump vetoed it on December 23, after threatening to do so for months. He opposed a provision that requires the Pentagon to rename military bases named for Confederate leaders, and demanded the repeal of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which is a liability shield for social media companies. He also said the bill was a “gift to China and Russia,” although he never specified what he meant by that.
“My administration has taken strong actions to help keep our nation safe and support our service members,” said Trump in a statement. “I will not approve this bill, which would put the interests of the Washington, D.C., establishment over those of the American people. It is my duty to return H.R. 6395 to the House of Representatives without my approval.”
US national president of the National Treasury Employees Union, urged Congress to override the veto, which he claimed that it was a “setback for federal employees.”
“During a pandemic and in the middle of the holidays, the commander-in-chief is defunding the military and denying our service members their duly-earned pay,”
Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., chairman of the House Oversight and Reform’s Government Operations subcommittee, tweeted on December 23. “This veto is foolish and disgraceful and I look forward to overriding it.”
Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, saidupon the news of the veto, that the NDAA has become a law for the last 59 years and “this year must not be an exception,” while not mentioning the veto explicitly.
“This NDAA cements all the remarkable gains our military has made thanks to President Trump’s leadership and sends a strong message of support to our service members and their families,” he said. “I hope all of my colleagues in Congress will join me in making sure our troops have the resources and equipment they need to defend this nation.”