Senate Overwhelmingly Approves National Defense Authorization Act

December 11, 2020 by Dan McCue
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, speaks during a news conference following a weekly meeting with the Senate Republican caucus, Tuesday, Dec. 8. 2020 at the Capitol in Washington. (Sarah Silbiger/Pool via AP)

WASHINGTON – The Senate, as expected, overwhelming endorsed a $740 billion national defense policy bill Friday, sending the measure on to the White House where president Trump threatened to veto it.

Ignoring those threats, the Senate voted 84-12 in favor of the National Defense Authorization Act, a vote ensuring the chamber has the more than the two-thirds majority it would have needed to override the potential veto.

Earlier this week, the House passed the same bill, 355-78, also appearing to guarantee it has the votes to override a veto.

Trump objects to the bill on two grounds. The first is that it includes a provision that would require military bases and installations named in honor of Confederate figures to be renamed within three years.

Since shortly before the election, Trump has also assailed the bill on the grounds that it does not include a provision to repeal Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act.

The law, as it stands, lets companies like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter moderate content on their services as they see fit, while protecting them from lawsuits over content shared on them.

Trump and his allies have fumed in recent months over the social media giants labeling or removing content they deemed false or spurious during the 2020 election cycle.

Prior to the Senate vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called the legislation a “must-pass bill,” and encouraged members to support it because “a huge number of crucial policies are included and a lot of bad ideas were kept out.”

It is uncertain how veto override votes in the House and Senate would have play out.

Given the lengths to which many Congressional Republicans have gone to stand by the president in his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, it is expected that many who voted in favor of the NDAA Friday won’t vote to revive it after a veto by Trump.

At the same time, Democrats who voted against it, are expected join the vote in favor of the override.

Similar dynamics were in play in the House, where House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., voted in favor of the bill, but said he will not support a veto override.

If the House and Senate do override a Trump veto it would the first time during his administration that he did so.

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