US President Donald Trump vetoed a comprehensive defense funding bill that was sent to him by Congress on Wednesday. He complained that it was helping Russia and China and refused to object to military bases being renamed.
The bipartisan law was passed in both houses of Congress with sufficient clearance for lawmakers to theoretically override the president’s rejection.
The veto on the $ 740 billion measure to fund the military for fiscal 2021 came a day after the U.S. leader, who had been in office for less than a month, passed a separate Covid-19 relief bill of 900 Billions of dollars and total government funding had been called into question.
Trump criticized the annual National Defense Authorization Act for failing to respond to its call to end social media company liability coverage, known as Section 230 – an issue unrelated to the Department of Defense.
He also opposed a provision in the NDAA to rename military bases with the names of generals from the secessionist, slavery-supporting South in the 19th century US Civil War.
And he opposed a provision that could hinder his decision to drastically reduce US troop levels in Germany, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
The NDAA “does not contain critical national security measures, contains provisions that our veterans and our military history do not respect, and contradicts my administration’s efforts to put America first in our national security and foreign policies,” Trump said in an explanation.
Without the changes to Section 230, Trump said the NDAA was “a” gift “to China and Russia.”
Democratic House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi criticized Trump’s veto as “an act of ruthlessness that harms our troops, threatens our security and undermines the will of Congress”.
Both the House of Representatives and the Senate have scheduled time next week to decide on the veto – this would be the first such rejection by Congress in nearly four years in office.
With the bill to fund shared buses, including state funding and Covid aid, still in the air, it wasn’t clear whether Trump was using both for concessions.
“I am not going to approve this bill that would put the interests of the Washington DC establishment over those of the American people,” Trump said.
Trump has repeatedly called for the NDAA to make changes to Section 230, a piece of U.S. communications law that protects social media giants like Facebook and Twitter from responsibility for content posted by their users.
Since the beginning of this year, Trump has been angry about social media for censoring or raising questions about the factuality of his own posts, particularly the coronavirus pandemic.
But Trump said the Section 230 change was a national security issue.
“Your failure to end the very dangerous national security risk of Section 230 will make it virtually impossible to channel our information without everyone knowing what we are doing at each step,” he said in the statement.
He called the move to change the base names – widely supported in the Pentagon – “politically motivated” without mentioning the legacy of racism and slavery carried by the names.
The veto doesn’t immediately curb funding to the Pentagon, but if the NDAA doesn’t pass soon, funding could be cut.
“The NDAA has been a bill every year for 59 years because it is vital to our national security and our troops,” said Republican Senator Jim Inhofe.
“This year cannot be an exception. Our men and women who voluntarily wear uniforms should not be denied what they need – never.”
(This story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)