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Previous story In a first, Congress overrides Trump veto of defense bill Next story
Published on January 2, 2021 4:43 AM

by MATTHEW DALY

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DEFENSE BILL Veto
 
WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress on Friday overrode President Donald Trump's veto of a defense policy bill, a first by lawmakers since he took office nearly four years ago, ensuring that the measure becomes law.

In an extraordinary New Year's Day session, the Republican-controlled Senate easily turned aside the veto, dismissing Trump's objections to the $740 billion bill and handing him a stinging rebuke just weeks before he leaves the White House.

Trump lashed out on Twitter, saying the Senate missed an opportunity to eliminate protections for social media platforms that he said give "unlimited power to Big Tech companies. Pathetic!!!?

Trump also slammed lawmakers for rejecting his call to increase COVID-19 relief payments to $2,000: "Not fair, or smart!?

The 81-13 vote in the Senate on the widely popular defense bill followed an earlier 322-87 override vote in the House. The bill affirms a 3% pay raise for U.S. troops and guides defense policy, cementing decisions about troop levels, new weapons systems and military readiness, personnel policy and other military goals.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the "sweeping and overwhelmingly bipartisan votes" in the House and Senate "delivered a resounding rebuke to President Trump's reckless assault on America's military and national security Trump's veto of the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, "would have hurt the health, financial security and safety of our servicemembers, their families, our veterans and our allies and partners worldwide,? Pelosi said. "Instead of keeping Americans safe, the president continues to use his final moments in office to sow chaos and undermine our security.?

The defense bill, which now has the force of law, "looks after our brave men and women who volunteer to wear the uniform,? said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. "But it's also a tremendous opportunity: to direct our national security priorities to reflect the resolve of the American people and the evolving threats to their safety, at home and abroad. It's our chance to ensure we keep pace with competitors like Russia and China.?

The Senate override was delayed after Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., objected to moving ahead until McConnell allowed a vote on the Trump-backed plan to boost COVID relief payments to $2,000. McConnell did not allow that vote; instead he used his parliamentary power to set a vote limiting debate on the defense measure, overcoming a filibuster threat by Sanders and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York.?