President Donald Trump made a pledge Tuesday night to veto the National Defense Authorization Act if it was not revised to reduce international budget bloat and put more money in the hands of the American people, using his legitimate presidential powers to block the bill on Wednesday.
“My Administration has taken strong actions to help keep our Nation safe and support our service members,” Trump stated in a written message to the House of Representatives. “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 a ‘gift’ to 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,” he said in a statement. “It is a ‘gift’ to China and Russia.”
The NDAA, the President said, has not made any amendments to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act even though both Republicans and Democrats have called for it to be repealed. Conservative have argued that it encourages social networking companies including Twitter and Facebook to suppress dissident opinions, and some progressives have said that the legislation would not take “hate speech” posted on such networks into account.
Section 230 allows social media companies to act as platforms not held legally responsible for content posted by users on their website. In recent years, platforms like Facebook and Twitter abused their protections by enacting draconian censorship and removal of conservative users from their service, calling their neutrality into question.
Mitch McConnell: to override the veto in the Senate
Republicans who have declined to help President Trump in his battle to ensure free and fair elections and get justice for fraud, such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-TN), have suggested that they would attempt to pass the NDAA despite a veto by brute force overturning the Senate vote.
“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,” the Kentucky Republican said at around 1:45 a.m. on Tuesday. And McConnell announced on the floor: “The Democratic Leader and I have agreed to unanimous request as follows: the Senate will meet for pro forma sessions only until December 29th when we will return to session.”
McConnell previously said the bill does boost the military against adversaries like Russia and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
The President, however, said that the NDAA is explicitly opposed to its foreign policy positions, namely its attempts to bring American troops back from Afghanistan, South Korea, and Germany.
“Not only is this bad policy, but it is unconstitutional,” he wrote. “Article II of the Constitution makes the President the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States and vests in him the executive power. Therefore, the decision regarding how many troops to deploy and where, including in Afghanistan, Germany, and South Korea, rests with him.”
The president also took issue with renaming certain military installations that have historical significance.
“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,” Trump wrote. “From these facilities, we have won two World Wars. I have been clear in my opposition to politically motivated attempts like this to wash away history and to dishonor the immense progress our country has fought for in realizing our founding principles.”
Lindsey Graham vows to not override
South Carolina U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham said he will not cast a veto-override vote in favor of an appropriations bill to fund military operations unless the act is amended to include a reform of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
“House’s refusal to wind down Section 230 for Big Tech shows they care more about Big Tech than working Americans,” Graham said in a tweet.
“Congress should vote to Repeal Section 230 as requested by President [Trump],” Graham added. “I will not vote to override presidential veto unless effort is made to wind down Section 230.”
Nancy Pelosi: The override could come as early as next Monday
“In a time when our country was just targeted with a massive cyberattack, it is particularly hard to understand the reasoning behind the President’s irresponsibility,” she said in a statement.
The passage of the bloated security bill, which contains a so-called COVID aid program that provides a paltry $600 to poor American families, will stand in clear contrast to the voting public opinion and the office of the President of the United States.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has stated that she would seek unanimous consent for a bill that appears to comply with the President’s request to increase the scale of the stimulus tests, which is likely to result in a defeat on the floor of the House.
Democrats blasted the veto of defense bill
“Donald Trump just vetoed a pay raise for our troops so he can defend dead Confederate traitors,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. tweeted. “Democrats will vote to override it.”
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a statement moments after the veto that he expected Congress to override the president’s veto. The bipartisan plan previously passed with veto-proof majorities in both the House and Senate.
“It’s unconscionable that the President would choose to throw a wrench into the passage of a bill as critical as our nation’s annual defense bill,” Warner said. “The President’s decision to veto this bipartisan legislation on his way out the door poses a serious threat to U.S. national security.”