Lopsided Senate Vote Delivers Veto Override on Defense Bill

Lawmakers hold rare New Year's Day session to give Trump a defeat
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 1, 2021 2:10 PM CST
Lopsided Senate Vote Delivers Veto Override on Defense Bill
President Trump and first lady Melania Trump board Air Force One at Palm Beach International Airport in Florida on Thursday for their return to the capital.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

The Senate wrapped up a defeat for President Trump on Friday, voting to override his veto of the defense authorization bill. Despite Republicans controlling the Senate, the vote wasn't close: 81-13, the Hill reports. The House had agreed, 322-87, earlier in the week. A veto override requires a two-thirds vote in each chamber. This was the first of Trump's presidency. The move reflects difference on national security and defense policies between Trump and Republicans in Congress. "It's a serious responsibility," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said before the vote on Friday. "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."

The rebuke of Trump is not just in general; the bill contains a series of specific rejections of his policies, per the Washington Post. There are limits on the president's ability to tap the Pentagon's constrution budget, a response to Trump's taking money to build a border wall. There also are limits on the president's leeway to cut troop levels in Germany, South Korea, and Afghanistan, which Trump cited in his veto message. The bill calls for renaming military installations honoring Confederate leaders, which Trump opposes, and still does not include provisions Trump wanted to remove some liability protections from tech companies. Despite Trump's insistence the veto not be overriden, several GOP senators said he and his aides had not lobbied them recently on the vote. "I think it was more about making a statement than anything else," said Sen. John Cornyn. (Read more veto override stories.)

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