Dec 11, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Senate overwhelmingly passes defense bill despite Trump veto threat

Mitch McConnell
Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

The Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) by an 84-13 vote on Friday, defying President Trump's threat to veto the bill if it does not repeal liability protections for social media companies.

Why it matters: Both the House and Senate have now passed the bill by a veto-proof two-thirds majority, though it's unclear if the same number of lawmakers that voted to pass the bill would vote to overturn a Trump veto. Overriding Trump's veto would serve as a rare Republican rebuke to the president in his last weeks in office.

  • The NDAA, which this year authorizes a $740 billion budget for essential defense spending, will now head to Trump's desk. It has been passed by Congress every year since 1967.
  • The bill includes provisions that would grant a pay raise for troops, allow paid parental leave for federal employees and boost anti-discrimination protections for federal employees.

The big picture: Trump's threatened veto is centered around Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects social media from being liable for content created by its users.

  • The president in May signed an executive order seeking to limit the powers of Section 230, but he does not possess the unilateral authority to regulate tech and social media companies.
  • Trump has also expressed opposition to the 2020 NDAA for its proposal to rename 10 military installations that are named after Confederate leaders.

What they're saying: In a statement ahead of the House's vote this week, the White House said the bill "fails to include critical national security measures, includes provisions that fail to respect our veterans and our military’s history, and contradicts efforts by this administration to put America first."

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