WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — Congress has overridden President Donald Trump’s veto of a defense policy bill, a first by lawmakers since he took office nearly four years ago.
In a rare New Year’s Day session, the Republican-controlled Senate voted to override Trump’s defense bill veto after the House voted to overturn Trump’s veto on Monday. This is the first veto override by Congress in Trump’s presidency.
The Senate needed a two-thirds majority to override the veto. This rare holiday session comes as the new Congress is set to be sworn in Sunday.
The 81-13 vote in the Senate followed an earlier 322-87 override vote in the House of the widely popular defense measure. The defense bill, known as the National Defense Authorization Act or NDAA, affirms 3% pay raises for U.S. troops and authorizes more than $740 billion in military programs and construction.
Trump said he vetoed the legislation, which has passed every year since 1961, because it “fails to include critical national security measures, includes provisions that fail to respect our veterans and our military’s history, and contradicts efforts by my Administration to put America first in our national security and foreign policy actions.”
Trump also opposed a provision to rename military bases named after generals who fought for the pro-slavery Confederacy during the Civil War.
The Senate voted Wednesday to begin an official debate on overriding the president’s veto of the 2021 defense policy bill. The Senate voted 80-12.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that approval of the $740 billion National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, is crucial to the nation’s defense and to “deter great-power rivals like China and Russia.”
The bill “will cement our advantage on the seas, on land, in the air, in cyberspace and in space,” McConnell said.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.