GOP-led Senate delivers first successful veto override of Trump’s presidency in fight over defense bill during his final weeks in office

Mitch McConnell
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) U.S. President Donald Trump listen during a signing ceremony for H.R. 748, the CARES Act in the Oval Office of the White House on March 27, 2020 in Washington, DC.

  • The Senate on Friday voted to override President Donald Trump’s veto on the National Defense Authorization Act, a $741 billion defense bill.
  • This represented the first successful veto override of Trump’s presidency, though he’s issued nine vetoes in his tenure.
  • The president took issue with the defense bill largely because it did not include a provision addressing his unrelated concerns surrounding social media.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The Republican-controlled Senate spent New Year’s Day voting to override President Donald Trump’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act, delivering a major legislative defeat to the commander-in-chief during his final weeks in office.

This marked the first successful veto override of Trump’s presidency. Trump has issued nine vetoes in total.

On Friday, the Senate voted 81-13 to override Trump’s veto. Seven Republicans, five Democrats, and independent Sen. Bernie Sanders voted against the bill.

Notably, five Republicans and one Democrat didn’t vote on the override, including GOP Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue of Georgia, who are both up for reelection in a runoff on Tuesday.

Read moreSecret Service experts are speculating in group chats about how Trump might be hauled out of the White House if he won’t budge on Inauguration Day

Previously, many House Republicans joined Democrats in a 322 to 87 vote to override Trump’s veto, prompting the president to lash out. Overall, 109 House Republicans broke from Trump to support the veto override.

“Weak and tired Republican ‘leadership’ will allow the bad Defense Bill to pass,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday. 

“Say goodbye to VITAL Section 230 termination, your National Monuments, Forts (names!) and Treasures (inserted by Elizabeth ‘Pocahontas’ Warren), 5G, and our great soldiers being removed and brought home from foreign lands who do NOTHING for us,” Trump added.

The president described the move to override his veto as a “disgraceful act of cowardice.”

Trump broke from decades of GOP orthodoxy in objecting to the 2021 NDAA, the annual defense bill that has passed and been signed into law without major incident for six decades – until now. For years, Republicans have made undying support for the military a central tenet of their political philosophy.

The $741 billion legislation provides appropriations for the Defense Department and defense-related activities at other federal agencies.

But Trump took issue with the bill over its inclusion of a provision allowing for the renaming of military bases commemorating Confederate leaders. He also pushed for lawmakers to include a provision that would address his unrelated complaints regarding social media companies.

Trump has been pushing for the repeal of Section 230, a part of the Communications Decency Act that protects social-media companies from liability over third-party content posted on their platforms. The president has repeatedly claimed that social media companies are biased against conservatives.

Though the GOP has exhibited uncanny loyalty to Trump throughout his short but tumultuous tenure, top Republicans were not willing to allow Trump to derail the bill over these matters. GOP Sen. Jim Inhofe, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, in early December said Section 230 has “nothing to do with the military.” And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell consistently underscored the importance of the bill.

“This will unlock more than $740 billion for the training, tools, and cutting-edge equipment that our service members and civilian employees need to defend American lives and American interests,” McConnell said during a Senate speech on December 10. “It will give our troops the 3% pay raise they deserve. It’ll keep our forces ready to deter China and stand strong in the Indo-Pacific.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

House lawmakers slap down Trump’s veto of $740 billion defense bill, now heads to Senate for final showdown

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) rips up the speech of U.S. President Donald Trump after his State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. February 4, 2020.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rips up the speech of President Donald Trump after his State of the Union address to a joint session of the US Congress in the House Chamber of the US Capitol in Washington, February 4, 2020.

  • House lawmakers voted 322-87 to override President Donald Trump’s veto of a must-pass bill to fund the US military.
  • The override now heads to the US Senate.
  • The veto override would be the first such act during Trump’s presidency, if it passes in the Senate.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

House lawmakers overwhelmingly voted to override President Donald Trump’s veto of a must-pass bill to fund the US military, setting up the scene for the first potential override by both chambers during his White House tenure.

US Representatives on Monday evening voted 322-87 to override Trump’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which allocates around $740 billion earmarked to fund the US military for the next fiscal year. The bill includes substantive changes in troops deployments overseas, a 3% pay increase for service members, as well as renaming military bases that honor Confederate leaders within the next three years.

The bill was passed with strong bipartisan support in a 335-78 House vote earlier in December, which exceeded the two-thirds majority needed to strike down Trump’s veto. The US Senate then passed the bill in a 84-13 vote, a group that included the president’s fervent allies like Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

“Today, the House reiterated – in a resounding, bipartisan way – that our service members and national security are more important than politics,” Democratic Rep. Adam Smith of Washington, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said in a statement after the vote.

“By overriding the President’s veto, the House prioritized compromise and sound policy over legislative nihilism and blind political loyalty,” Smith added. ” By overriding the President’s veto, the House asserted the role of the legislative branch and underscored the importance of our constitutional separation of powers.”

Prior to the override vote, Republican Rep. Mac Thornberry of Texas, the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, told his colleagues to vote “on what is actually in the bill rather than distortions or misrepresentations.”

“Your decision should be based upon the oath we all took, which was to the Constitution rather than any person or organization,” Thornberry said in a note that was obtained by POLITICO.

Thornberry, who is not running for reelection, reportedly did not include Trump’s name in the note and did not specifically advise his colleagues to vote in favor of an override.

Trump vetoed the bill on December 23, saying the reason for his disapproval was because it threatened national security.

“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,” Trump said in a statement. “It is a ‘gift’ to China and Russia.”

Trump additionally took aim at the provision to rename US military bases and streets honoring Confederate leaders, which includes at least 10 US Army installations throughout the country.

“Over the course of United States history, these locations have taken on significance to the American story and those who have helped write it that far transcends their namesakes,” Trump added in his statement. “My Administration respects the legacy of the millions of American servicemen and women who have served with honor at these military bases, and who, from these locations, have fought, bled, and died for their country.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

‘For God’s sakes, get out of the way’: Trump’s former national security adviser urges him to fund the US military

Bolton Pompeo Trump
John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, Donald Trump.

  • Former national security adviser John Bolton told President Donald Trump to “get out of the way” and said he was “not a conservative.”
  • Bolton’s comments come as Trump vetoed the annual bill to fund the US military.
  • The must-pass bill was passed with bipartisan support.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Former national security adviser John Bolton described President Donald Trump’s veto against the annual bill to fund the US military as “very destructive” and against the ideals of his own political party.

In a CNN interview on Wednesday, Bolton said he agreed with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in that Trump’s veto against the bipartisan bill was antithetical to the Republican party.

“Just to make a philosophical point, I think this is a very compelling piece of evidence why Donald Trump is not a conservative,” Bolton said. “Nobody in the House or Senate, Republican or Democrat, likes every provision of this bill. But for 59 straight years, our parties have compromised their differences to give clear policy direction on defense for the full year.”

“What Trump’s veto does here, potentially, is put that in jeopardy at a time when we’re suffering from one of the worst computer attacks in our history, when we see threats all around the world continuing to grow from China and elsewhere,” Bolton added.

Trump on Wednesday vetoed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which would allocate $741 billion for US national security. The bill passed through both chambers of Congress with wide support from Republicans and Democrats.

The Democratic-controlled House supported the bill in a 335-78 vote, which exceeds the two-thirds majority needed to slap down Trump’s veto. The Republican-majority Senate also reaffirmed the defense bill in a 84-13 vote.

Wright-Patterson Air Force deployment
US service members at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, March 5, 2019.

Aside from continued funding of the US military, the bill includes substantive changes to overseas troop deployments and a 3% pay raise for service members.

Trump previously threatened to veto the bill for including provisions that would rename military bases that still bear the names of Confederate leaders within the next three years; as well as claiming it was not tough enough against China and Russia.

“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,” Trump said in a statement. ” It is a ‘gift’ to China and Russia.”

Bolton also described Trump’s veto as a “purely gratuitous action” and “selfish.”

“He’s Donald Trump, and this is part of the problem,” Bolton said on CNN. “This is all about Donald Trump.”

“There’s very little you can do to repair your reputation, but for God’s sakes, get out of the way of the national security of the United States and get out of the way of our efforts to overcome the coronavirus pandemic,” Bolton added.

Bolton been critical of the Trump presidency after resigning in 2019. He has since written a memoir about his experience in the White House, “The Room Where It Happened,” which provides unflattering details of his tenure.

Trump, in turn, has also disparaged Bolton.

“Wacko John Bolton’s ‘exceedingly tedious’ (New York Times) book is made up of lies & fake stories,” Trump said in a tweet in June. “Said all good about me, in print, until the day I fired him. A disgruntled boring fool who only wanted to go to war. Never had a clue, was ostracized & happily dumped. What a dope!”

Read the original article on Business Insider