On December 28, the House of Representatives, in a 322-87 vote which included 109 Republicans, voted to override President Trump’s veto of the latest incarnation of the National Defense Authorization Act.
What This Means and Why It Happened
This is the first time in President Trump’s administration where his veto has been overridden by a Congressional vote. Now, the Senate is set to consider whether to also override the veto, though given the fact that the bill originally passed the Senate 84-13, this means that it will almost certainly become law over the president’s wishes.
Originally, the president vetoed the $740 billion military spending bill for a number of reasons. Perhaps most significantly, it severely handicapped the president’s ability to bring troops home from Afghanistan and Germany. Trump understandably considers this unconstitutional, as the Constitution explicitly makes the president commander-in-chief of the military.
The bill also called for renaming certain military bases that were originally named after Confederate generals and did nothing to reform Section 230, the law which currently protects social media companies from legal liability for anything published by users on their platforms.
Those who collaborated on overriding the veto, including Republican Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, were disappointed by Trump’s veto and said that the bill was “absolutely vital to our national security and our troops.” But given that Germany poses no military threat to the United States whatsoever and that Afghanistan is a hopeless quagmire in which virtually nothing of substance has been achieved in more than 18 years of continuous warfare, it’s highly doubtful that the bill is truly “vital” to either of those things.
Since Trump’s veto will almost surely be overridden, this means a continuation of the endless wars that the president has fought so valiantly to end. Furthermore, social media companies like Twitter and Facebook will continue to wield their outsized ability to steer the national conversation by preventing conservatives from expressing certain views. It also means a yet further run-up of our already catastrophically high national debt.
Trump’s Furious Response
As he is wont to do, the president took to Twitter to lambaste his antagonists. This time, his ire was particularly directed at the 109 Republicans who voted to override his veto. He called them “weak and tired” and described their decision as a “disgraceful act of cowardice” and “total submission” to Big Tech.
Showdown in the Senate
As the bill will move into the Senate now for another vote, its fate will soon be decided. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants a rapid vote, but Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is holding up the process by threatening a filibuster, mainly because he wants to force a vote in the Senate on increasing the COVID relief stimulus checks that are soon to be sent out from $600 to $2,000.
Despite Sen. Sanders’ socialistic leanings, he happens to be aligned with the president on the need to push through this increase.
As of December 30, McConnell appears to have bowed to pressure and introduced bills into the Senate which increase stimulus payments to $2,000, repeal Section 230 and create a commission tasked with investigating claims of election fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
A vote on the new bill, however, has yet to be scheduled.