President Trump Vetoes National Defense Authorization Act

Congress convening next week to override the veto, Trump calls the bill a 'gift' to China and Russia

President Trump vetoed the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on Wednesday, following through on earlier threats. The president has several issues with the $740.5 billion spending bill, which he outlined in a statement released on the veto.

The NDAA includes amendments to block planned troop drawdowns in Afghanistan and Germany by requiring reports to Congress before funds could be used to bring troops home. A similar amendment is included for troops in South Korea.

“Numerous provisions of the Act directly contradict my Administration’s foreign policy, particularly my efforts to bring our troops home,” President Trump said in the statement. “I oppose endless wars, as does the American public.  Over bipartisan objections, however, this Act purports to restrict the President’s ability to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, Germany, and South Korea.”

Both chambers of Congress passed the NDAA with well over the two-thirds majority needed to override a presidential veto. Since President Trump has been threatening to veto the bill, Congress has planned a rare session in between Christmas and New Years to override the veto.

According to The Hill, the House is expected to hold a veto override vote on Monday. If the House overrides Trump, the Senate is expected to vote the following day, although some Republican senators could delay the vote. If the vote is delayed past January 3rd, Congress will have to restart the NDAA from scratch.

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) signaled his willingness to delay the vote over his opposition to the Afghanistan amendment. “I very much am opposed to the Afghan war, and I’ve told them I’ll come back to try to prevent them from easily overriding the president’s veto,” he said.

Earlier this month, Senator Paul attempted to block the Senate’s initial vote on the NDAA over the amendments that seek to block troop withdrawals. Paul said the bill would “a very dangerous precedent for limiting a President’s power to end war.”

One of President Trump’s main gripes with the bill was that it does not include a provision to repeal Section 230, a law that gives tech platforms immunity from liability over posts by third parties. Trump’s said in his statement: “Section 230 facilitates the spread of foreign disinformation online, which is a serious threat to our national security and election integrity.  It must be repealed.”

Other issues the president raised were over provisions to rename military bases and slow down 5G rollouts. Trump called the NDAA a “gift” to Russia and China.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the assistant news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.