WASHINGTON (AP) – The Democratic-controlled House voted by an overwhelming majority on Monday to overturn President Donald Trump’s veto on a defense policy bill, paving the way for what would be the first veto revocation of his presidency.
Members of the House voted 322-87 to override the veto, well over the two-thirds needed to override. The Senate, which is expected to vote on the waiver this week, must also approve it by a two-thirds majority.
Trump rejected the defense bill last week, saying he did not limit social media companies he said were biased against him when his reelection campaign failed. Trump also opposes language that allows renaming of military bases that honor Confederate leaders.
The Defense Bill, known as the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, claims 3% salary increases for U.S. troops and authorizes more than $ 740 billion in military and construction programs.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Said after the vote that the House had done its part to ensure that the NDAA becomes law “despite the president’s dangerous sabotage efforts.”
Trump’s “reckless veto would have denied our military the pay for risk,” removed key protections for global peace and security, and “undermined our nation’s values and work to fight racism, blocking a massively bipartisan action to rename military bases, ”Pelosi said.
Senator Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, called the bill “absolutely vital to our national security and our troops,” adding: “our men and women who volunteer for wearing the uniform shouldn’t be denied what they need – ever.
Trump has been successful throughout his four-year tenure in upholding party discipline in Congress, with few Republicans willing to publicly oppose him. The bipartisan vote on the hugely popular defense bill showed the limits of Trump’s influence in the past few weeks before he stepped down, and came minutes after 130 House Republicans walked away. voted against a Trump-backed plan to increase COVID-19 relief checks to $ 2,000. The House approved the larger payments, but the plan faces an uncertain future in the Republican-controlled Senate, another sign of Trump’s grip on Congress.
Trump has offered a series of justifications for rejecting the defense bill. He urged lawmakers to place limits on Twitter and other social media companies he says are biased against him, as well as to remove language that allows military bases such as Fort Benning and Fort to be renamed. Hood who honor Confederate leaders. Trump also claimed without proof that the biggest winner of the defense bill would be China.
In his veto message, Trump also said the bill restricts his ability to conduct foreign policy, “particularly my efforts to bring our troops home.” Trump was referring to provisions in the bill that place 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.
The veto waiver was supported by 212 Democrats, 109 Republicans and one Independent. Twenty Democrats opposed the waiver, along with 66 Republicans and one independent.
GOP House Leader Kevin McCarthy of California missed the vote, but Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney, a member of the Republican leadership, supported the waiver, as did Representative Mac Thornberry of Texas, the highest Republican from the House Armed Services Panel. Thornberry is retiring this year and the bill bears his name.
The Senate approved Bill 84-13 earlier this month, well above the margin needed to override a presidential veto. Trump vetoed eight other bills, but these all stood because supporters failed to get the two-thirds of the votes needed in each chamber for the bills to become law without the signature from Trump.
Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed, the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Trump’s claim that China had profited from the defense bill was false. He also noted the shifting explanations Trump had given for the veto.
“From the names of Confederate bases to the social media accountability provisions … to the imaginary and easily refutable accusations regarding China, it is difficult to keep track of President Trump’s unscrupulous and irrational apologies for vetoing this bill bipartisan, ”Reed said.
Reed called the December 23 veto “Trump’s farewell gift to (Russian President Vladimir) Putin and a lump of coal for our troops.” Donald Trump shows more devotion to the names of Confederate bases than to the men and women who defend our nation. “
Representative Adam Smith, D-Wash., Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said Trump’s veto “made it clear that he did not care about the needs of our military personnel and their families.”
The measure guides Pentagon policy and cements decisions regarding troop levels, new weapon systems and military readiness, personnel policy, and other military objectives. Many programs, including military construction, can only go into effect if the bill is approved.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in a rare break with Trump, had called for passage of the defense bill despite Trump’s threat of a veto. McConnell said it was important for Congress to continue its nearly six-decade streak of passing the Defense Policy Bill.