Dec 1, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump threatens to veto defense spending bill over social media shield

 President Donald Trump speaks in the Diplomatic Room of the White House on Thanksgiving

Photo: Erin Schaff - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted Tuesday a threat to veto a must-pass end-of-year $740 billion defense-spending authorization bill unless Congress repeals a federal law that protects social media sites from legal liability.

Why it matters: Trump's attempt to get Congress to end the tech industry protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is the latest escalation in his war on tech giants over what he and some other Republicans perceive as bias against conservatives.

  • Axios' Ashley Gold and Margaret Harding McGill reported Monday night that the Trump administration was pressing Congress to repeal Section 230 in the hope of achieving a bipartisan animus against Big Tech before the president leaves office.

What he's saying: "Section 230, which is a liability shielding gift from the U.S. to “Big Tech” (the only companies in America that have it - corporate welfare!), is a serious threat to our National Security & Election Integrity. Our Country can never be safe & secure if we allow it to stand," Trump tweeted.

  • "Therefore, if the very dangerous & unfair Section 230 is not completely terminated as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), I will be forced to unequivocally VETO the Bill when sent to the very beautiful Resolute desk. Take back America NOW. Thank you!"

Situational awareness: The NDAA conference committee is expected to meet Wednesday to begin going through legislative language, and members hope to begin seeing draft text by the end of the day.

  • Congressional sources told Axios’ Margaret McGill, Ashley Gold and Alayna Treene that, as of now, there is no language on repealing Section 230, which would eliminate the tech industry's prized liability law.
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