The House convened on Monday for an override vote of President Trump’s veto of the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). In a vote of 322 to 87, the House secured well over the two-thirds majority needed for the override, and the bill now moves onto the Senate.
The Senate is expected to convene for the override vote on Tuesday. Before President Trump’s veto, the NDAA passed through the Senate by a vote of 84 to 13, well over the two-thirds majority needed for the override. But the bill could be delayed if a senator chooses to drag out procedural hurdles. 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 NDAA over his opposition to an amendment that seeks to block troop drawdowns from Afghanistan. “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 told reporters last week.
Paul briefly delayed the initial Senate vote for the NDAA. In a speech on the Senate floor, he said the bill would set “a very dangerous precedent for limiting a President’s power to end war.”
The Afghanistan amendment would block funds to bring troops home until the Pentagon, State Department, and DNI submits a report to Congress on how the drawdown would impact national security.
The assessment would be required as soon as the NDAA becomes law, and again when troop numbers drop down below 4,000 or 2,000. The Pentagon is currently executing a plan to bring troop numbers in Afghanistan down to 2,500 by January 15th. There are similar amendments in the NDAA for troops in Germany and South Korea.