Strong bipartisan House majority overrides Trump veto of defense bill

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The House voted 322-87 Monday to override President Trump’s veto of the annual defense spending bill, giving the Senate the chance to enact the first and last veto of the 45th presidency.

Trump, last week, had vetoed the $740 billion bill – which includes pay raises for soldiers and funding for modernization – because, nonsensically, the bill didn’t include a provision repealing Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a law that provides a legal shield to tech companies like Twitter and Facebook, which has what, exactly, to do with the national defense; and then he doesn’t like that the bill does require the military to rename bases named for Confederate military leaders.

The bill originally passed the Senate in an 84-13 vote, so it would seem an override in that chamber – requiring a two-thirds vote – is likely.

Seventh District Democrat Abigail Spanberger and First District Republican Rob Wittman both voted in favor of the override – and both issued statements late Monday.

First, Spanberger:

“The United States and its allies face a growing range of threats around the world – as we’ve witnessed with the latest cyberattack from Russia – and this year’s NDAA is a critical step in protecting the dedicated men and women who work tirelessly to keep Central Virginia’s families safe. This vote is not a difficult decision whatsoever, because our servicemembers and their families deserve the strongest support possible.

The President’s veto of the NDAA was not only misguided, but it sent a poor message to our allies – as well as our adversaries – around the world. As Commander in Chief, the President has a unique responsibility to protect our servicemen and women, and it is beyond embarrassing – and a show of weakness – that the President chose to veto this legislation. I look forward to welcoming a new President into office who demonstrates the commitment necessary to maintain our military advantage, confront the dangers on the horizon, and honor the selfless service of those who put on the uniform in defense of their country.”

Next, Wittman:

“Let me be very clear: the FY21 NDAA does right by our men and women in uniform and provides sound, strong defense policy for the coming year and the coming challenges. It will give our armed forces the tools and resources they need to deter our adversaries, support our allies, and project power around the globe.

“The Commonwealth of Virginia is home to one of the largest populations of military members and their families in the country and many more hardworking Americans who develop and support the platforms, systems, and programs that our warfighters use to execute their critical missions around the globe. FY21 NDAA goes a long way to support our region’s path to economic recovery.

“While I understand the concerns of President Trump, simply put, this is a defense bill and the President’s concerns are not defense-related. Lawmakers have been able to pass this bill for 59 years on a bipartisan and bicameral basis by taking painstaking measures to keep the NDAA focused on our national security and setting aside non-related policy items. There are better ways to address the issues brought up by the President that do not jeopardize our nation’s security interests or punish our military members.

“I agree that we must address President Trump’s concerns regarding Section 230. That is why I support Rep. Paul Gosar’s (AZ-04) Stop the Censorship Act. Section 230 currently provides online platforms with immunity for the removal of anything they perceive to be ‘otherwise objectionable.’ This legislation revokes immunity for the removal of competition and lawful political speech, extends free speech online, empowers users to protect themselves from objectionable material. This provision also incentivizes platforms to be more transparent and abide by their own terms of service. Most importantly, separating this bill from FY21 NDAA gives us the opportunity to pass the requisite defense legislation to ensure our men and women in uniform are given the resources they need to keep our Country safe.

“Our servicemembers and our national security professionals need this legislation and the authorizations and policies it provides. I refuse to put them at risk—this legislation is too important not to pass.”

Story by Chris Graham


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