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Trump again threatens to veto defense bill in standoff with Congress

Donald Trump
Posted at 10:03 AM, Dec 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-17 12:03:07-05

President Trump threatened to veto the nation's annual defense spending act for the second time in two days in a tweet on Thursday, continuing a standoff with lawmakers over a bill that passed with veto-proof majorities in both chambers of Congress last week.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly expressed opposition to the $732 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in part because it would create a commission to study renaming military bases named for Confederate officials. He also is angry that it does not include a provision to repeal Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which provides a liability shield for social media companies. Many members of Congress, including some Republicans, have argued that a repeal of Section 230 is unrelated to national security.

"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!" Mr. Trump wrote in a tweet on Thursday morning.

The House passed the NDAA by a vote of 335-78 last week, and the Senate approved it with 84-13 votes shortly thereafter, both surpassing the two-thirds majority threshold needed to override a veto. The NDAA has passed every year for the past 59 years.

The president has until December 23 to veto or sign the bill. If Mr. Trump does issue a veto, overriding it will be added to Congress's to-do list, which includes negotiations over an omnibus government funding bill and a coronavirus relief bill. Both houses of Congress must pass a spending bill which then has to be signed by the president before Friday at midnight to avert a government shutdown.