NATIONAL NEWS

Congress Overrides Trump Veto Of Defense Bill

Jan 1, 2021, 12:58 PM
FILE: The U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)...
FILE: The U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress has overridden President Donald Trump’s veto of a defense policy bill, a first by lawmakers since he took office nearly four years ago.

In an extraordinary New Year’s Day session, the Republican-controlled Senate easily turned aside the veto, dismissing Trump’s objections to the $740 billion bill and handing him a stinging rebuke just weeks before his term ends.

Trump had lashed out at GOP lawmakers on Twitter, charging earlier this week that “Weak and tired Republican ‘leadership’ will allow the bad Defense Bill to pass.″

Trump called the looming override vote a “disgraceful act of cowardice and total submission by weak people to Big Tech. Negotiate a better Bill, or get better leaders, NOW!”

The 81-13 vote in the Senate followed an earlier 322-87 override vote in the House of the widely popular defense measure. The bill provides a 3% pay raise for U.S. troops and guides defense policy, cementing decisions about troop levels, new weapons systems and military readiness, personnel policy and other military goals. Many programs, including military construction, can only go into effect if 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 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, I-Vt., objected to moving ahead until McConnell allowed a vote on a Trump-backed plan to increase COVID-19 relief payments to $2,000. McConnell did not allow that vote; instead he used his parliamentary power to set a vote limiting debate on the defense measure, overcoming a filibuster threat by Sanders and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York.

Without a bipartisan agreement, a vote on the bill could have been delayed until Saturday night. Lawmakers, however, agreed to an immediate roll call Friday once the filibuster threat was stopped.

Trump rejected the defense measure last week, saying it failed to limit social media companies he claimed were biased against him during his failed reelection campaign. Trump also opposed language that allows for the renaming of military bases that honor Confederate leaders.

Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., 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.″

Trump has succeeded throughout his four-year term in enforcing party discipline in Congress, with few Republicans willing to publicly oppose him. The bipartisan overrides on the defense bill showed the limits of Trump’s influence in the final weeks of his term.

Earlier this week, 130 House Republicans voted against the Trump-backed COVID relief checks, with many arguing they were unnecessary and would increase the federal budget deficit.

The Democratic-controlled House approved the larger payments, but the plan is dead in the Senate, another sign of Trump’s fading hold over Congress.

Besides 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, but those were all sustained because supporters did not gain the two-thirds vote needed in each chamber for the bills to become law without Trump’s signature.

Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed, the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, called Trump’s Dec. 23 veto a “parting gift” to Russian President Vladimir Putin “and a lump of coal for our troops. Donald Trump is showing more devotion to Confederate base names than to the men and women who defend our nation.″

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

The near-collision happened at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, seen here from the air. (Kir...
Greg Wallace and Pete Muntean

Southwest, FedEx jets came within 100 feet of collision at Texas airport, investigators say

A Southwest passenger jet and a FedEx cargo plane came as close as 100 feet from colliding Saturday at the main airport in Texas' capital, and it was a pilot — not air traffic controllers — who averted disaster, a top federal investigator says.
22 hours ago
In this handout photo provided by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Nathan Lee Chasing ...
Rio Yamat, Associated Press

‘Dances With Wolves’ actor charged in Nevada sex abuse case

Former “Dances With Wolves” actor Nathan Chasing Horse has been formally charged in Nevada with eight felonies and two misdemeanors.
22 hours ago
police tape outside of a Virginia elementary school...
Denise Lavoie and Ben Finley, Associated Press

Boy who shot teacher allegedly tried to choke another

An attorney for a teacher who was shot and wounded by a 6-year-old Virginia boy says in a legal notice that the first-grader constantly cursed at staff and teachers, chased students around and tried to whip them with his belt and once choked another teacher “until she couldn’t breathe.”
22 hours ago
IN SPACE - FEBRUARY 8: In this handout photo provided by SpaceX, a Tesla roadster launched from the...
Jackie Wattles

SpaceX put a Tesla sportscar into space five years ago. Where is it now?

It's been half a decade since Elon Musk launched his own Tesla car into space with a SpaceX rocket, but where is it now?
22 hours ago
AMC raises seat prices...
Associated Press

AMC to charge more for good seats in movie theaters

Middle seats at many U.S. movie theaters just got more expensive.
22 hours ago
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - NOVEMBER 10: In this photo illustration, the FTX website is seen on a computer o...
Allison Morrow

FTX to politicians: Give us back our donations or we’ll sue you

New FTX management is pressuring hundreds of politicians and political organizations to return millions of dollars donated by them or its founders before it went bankrupt.
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Congress Overrides Trump Veto Of Defense Bill