Senate to consider overriding Trump’s defense bill veto Wednesday, McConnell says


WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — The stage is set for what could be the first veto override of Donald Trump’s presidency.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he wants a vote as soon as Wednesday.

The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives voted Monday to override President Trump’s veto of a defense policy bill. The Senate is expected to vote on the override this week, and will need a two-thirds majority to do so.

The 322-87 House vote saw 109 Republicans join Democrats to override Trump’s veto. If the Senate seconds the House action, the bill becomes law.

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 slammed GOP lawmakers on Twitter, charging that “Weak and tired Republican ‘leadership’ will allow the bad Defense Bill to pass.″

Trump called the override vote a “disgraceful act of cowardice and total submission by weak people to Big Tech. Negotiate a better Bill, or get better leaders, NOW! Senate should not approve NDAA until fixed!!!″

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.

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. The bill also provides a 3% pay raise for U.S. troops, improvements for military housing, child care and more, McConnell said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi welcomed what she described as “an overwhelming bipartisan” vote to override Trump’s rejection of the bill and predicted the legislation would become law despite the president’s “dangerous sabotage efforts.”

“The president must end his eleventh-hour campaign of chaos and stop using his final moments in office to obstruct bipartisan and bicameral action to protect our military and defend our security,” Pelosi said in a statement.

The Senate is also expected to discuss the $900 billion in COVID-19 aid and $1.4 trillion to fund government agencies that Trump signed into law on Sunday.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders objected to moving ahead with the defense bill vote until McConnell allows a vote on the Trump-backed plan to increase COVID-19 relief payments to $2,000.

“Let me be clear: If Sen. McConnell doesn’t agree to an up or down vote to provide the working people of our country a $2,000 direct payment, Congress will not be going home for New Year’s Eve,” said Sanders, an independent who caucuses with Democrats. “Let’s do our job.”

Trump’s signing of the package staved off a U.S. government shutdown but he also pushed for the stimulus checks to be raised to $2,000, and he reasserted that demand on Tuesday, tweeting: “Give the people $2000, not $600. They have suffered enough!”

President-elect Joe Biden also told reporters at an event in Wilmington, Delaware, that he supported the $2,000 checks.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

© 1998 - 2021 Nexstar Inc. | All Rights Reserved.