The U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020.
Sarah Silbiger | Bloomberg | Getty Images
WASHINGTON — The House was set to vote Monday on whether to override President Donald Trump’s veto of an annual defense spending bill.
An override would stand as a bipartisan rebuke to the Republican president in the final days of his administration.
The House, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is set to convene at 2 p.m. ET. The vote to override Trump’s rejection of the massive defense bill, which authorizes a topline of $740 billion in spending and outlines Pentagon policy, is expected around 5 p.m. If passed, the override measure will then head to the Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said his chamber would vote on overriding the veto Tuesday.
The bill, known as the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, passed the House on Dec. 8. with the support of more than three-fourths of the chamber. A large majority of the GOP-controlled Senate also passed the bill, giving both chambers a higher share of yea votes than the two-thirds required to defeat a presidential veto.
The sweeping defense bill typically passes with strong bipartisan support and veto-proof majorities as it funds America’s national security portfolio. It has been signed into law for nearly six consecutive decades.
The bill’s passage, at the minimum, secures soldier pay raises and keeps crucial defense modernization programs running.
Trump offered a variety of reasons for opposing this year’s 4,517-page NDAA, taking issue with the bill both for what it contains and what it lacks.
The president has demanded that the bill include language stripping social media companies of protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which guards them from being held liable for what users say on their platforms. Trump, who used Twitter prolifically throughout his presidency, has long accused media outlets of bias.
In his veto message to Congress, Trump wrote that the NDAA failed “to make any meaningful changes to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.” He called on Congress to repeal the measure.
The president has previously said the measure posed a serious threat to U.S. national security as well as election integrity but did not give any further explanatory details.
Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., wrote on Twitter that he would not vote to override the president’s veto. Graham did not vote for the bill the first time.
Graham, who chairs the Senate judiciary committee, introduced legislation on Dec. 15 that would end, by Jan. 1, 2023, the protections of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Section 230 protects tech giants such as Facebook and Twitter from being held legally liable for what is posted on their platforms.