GOP-controlled Senate defies Trump and easily passes $741 billion defense bill despite the president’s veto threat


Mitch McConnell
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and President Donald Trump in March. Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images
  • The Senate on Friday passed a $741 billion defense bill with a veto-proof majority, 84-13.

  • President Donald Trump has threatened to veto the bill because it doesn’t include a provision regarding his unrelated qualms with social-media companies.

  • The House also passed the bill with a veto-proof majority.

  • If Trump makes good on his threat, Congress appears to have the votes to override him.

  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The Republican-controlled Senate on Friday passed the National Defense Authorization Act, a $741 billion defense bill, with a veto-proof majority. GOP senators overwhelmingly supported the legislation despite President Donald Trump’s threats to veto it.

“This annual bill will unlock the training, tools, and cutting-edge equipment that our servicemembers and civilian employees need as they bravely defend American lives and American interests,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a tweet after the vote.

The Senate voted 84-13 to approve the bill, which provides appropriations to the Defense Department and defense-related activities in other federal agencies. The Democratic-controlled House also passed the bill with a veto-proof majority.

Friday’s Senate vote could set up a showdown between Trump and Congress in the final days of his presidency. If he makes good on his threat, it appears the bill has enough support in both chambers to override a veto, in what would be a first for Trump.

Trump has objected to a provision in the bill that opens the door to rename military bases commemorating Confederate leaders. More recently, the president has demanded that the bill repeal Section 230, a part of the Communications Decency Act that protects social-media companies from being held liable for content posted on their platforms. Trump has accused social-media companies like Twitter and Facebook of being biased against conservatives.

But Section 230 has nothing to do with national defense, and Republicans have been urging Trump to support the defense bill. The NDAA has passed in Congress without much opposition for 60 consecutive years.

Ahead of the House vote on the bill earlier this week, Trump tweeted: “I hope House Republicans will vote against the very weak National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which I will VETO. Must include a termination of Section 230 (for National Security purposes), preserve our National Monuments, & allow for 5G & troop reductions in foreign lands!”

It’s unclear whether Trump will follow through and veto the bill, given the overwhelming support for it in Congress. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.

Trump has issued eight vetoes during his presidency, and none has been overridden.

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