President Trump is showing no signs of backing down from a vow to veto a must-pass defense bill over his favorite social media beef.
The president derided the bipartisan National Defense Appropriations Act (NDAA) as “very weak” and urged Republican lawmakers to vote against it.
President Donald J. Trump (Drew Angerer/)
Trump’s problem with the bill, which is set to pass in the House by a wide margin, is that it doesn’t include a provision repeal so-called Section 230, a measure that shields social media companies from liability for user-posted content.
The president wants the language repealed to punish Twitter and Facebook for what he believes is a bias against right-wing viewpoints.
Video: U.S. Congress defense bill defies Trump’s wishes (Reuters – US Video Online)
But the divisive issue has no connection whatsoever to military spending, and Republican and Democratic leaders both oppose complicating what should be the routine passage of the NDAA.
Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), the Trump-supporting GOP ranking member on the Armed Services Committee, called on Republicans to give the measure a resounding majority, suggesting Trump may back down if he sees far more than two-thirds support needed to override his veto.
The right-wing House Freedom Caucus vowed to vote against the bill. With nearly 40 members, the move might give opponents enough votes to potentially uphold a Trump veto.
If the measure passes the House as expected it will move on to the Senate, where it is also said to enjoy wide bipartisan support.
Even lawmakers who strongly support Trump’s push to eliminate Section 230 have no stomach for injecting it into the defense bill, which would endanger its passage.
Trump has also objected to a provision in the bill to rename military bases named after Confederate Civil War officers. That also has bipartisan support.
The drama over the NDAA could also delay progress on the much-needed coronavirus stimulus package.
If Trump makes good on his veto, Congress would have to negotiate a tricky path to bring both chambers back into session just before or just after Christmas and before the new Congress begins on January 3, 2021.