News and Commentary

President Trump Vetoes $740 Billion Defense Bill
U.S. President Donald Trump holds a joint news conference with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri in the Rose Garden at the White House July 25, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump began the news conference by announcing that Senate Republicans had passed a procedural vote on repealing Obamacare. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump vetoed a sweeping defense spending bill after repeatedly threatening to do so unless it addressed certain changes to regulations governing big tech corporations.

Trump vetoed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on Wednesday, setting up Congress to vote to override Trump and pass the bill without presidential approval. The bill passed both chambers of Congress with veto-proof majorities.

Trump had repeatedly threatened to veto the bill unless it addressed a list of his concerns, including reforms to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act which social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have used to protect themselves from liability for certain content posted on their sites.

“I will Veto the Defense Bill, which will make China very unhappy. They love it. Must have Section 230 termination, protect our National Monuments and allow for removal of military from far away, and very unappreciative, lands. Thank you!” Trump tweeted on Dec. 17.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already installed a contingency plan to vote to override Trump’s veto on Dec. 29. McConnell planned for the possibility of a Trump veto ahead of time, working out a deal with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to hold a session in the Senate in between Christmas and the New Year.

“My intention was and is to ensure the Senate continues fulfilling our obligation to the men and women of our armed forces. I hope the president will not veto this bill,” McConnell said during remarks on the Senate floor on Tuesday, according to The Hill.

“In the event that President Trump does elect to veto this bipartisan bill, it appears the House may choose to return after the holidays to set up a vote to consider the veto,” he added. “In the event that the president has vetoed the bill, and the House has voted to override the veto, the Senate would have the opportunity to process a veto override at that time.”

Trump also opposed a measure in the defense bill that would require the Pentagon to rename military bases and other assets named after members of the Confederacy. Trump outlined his opposition in a thread of tweets in June.

“It has been suggested that we should rename as many as 10 of our Legendary Military Bases, such as Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Fort Hood in Texas, Fort Benning in Georgia, etc. These Monumental and very Powerful Bases have become part of a Great American Heritage, and a history of Winning, Victory, and Freedom,” Trump said. “The United States of America trained and deployed our HEROES on these Hallowed Grounds, and won two World Wars. Therefore, my Administration will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations. Our history as the Greatest Nation in the World will not be tampered with. Respect our Military!”

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) opposed the NDAA and has promised to help Trump and prevent an override vote in Congress, though it is unlikely Paul can stop it.

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