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The key legislation, approved annually, funds the Department of Defence and sets military policy. It has already been approved by the House of Representatives with only 40 Republicans backing Trump and voting against the bill.
The US Senate has passed National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA), which paves the way for sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project and Turkey over its acquisition of Russian S-400 missile defence systems. The $740 billion bill also contains a plan to withdraw 12,000 US troops from Germany and envisions further arms sales to Ukraine as well as a ban on Russia-US military cooperation.
At least 75 lawmakers in the Republican-held Senate backed the legislation, despite president Trump’s call to vote against the bill and his threats to veto it. The House of Representatives earlier passed the defence bill in a vote of 335 to 78, with supporters of the legislation expressing hope that the large number of “yes” votes would send a strong signal to President Trump and that he will change his stance on the NDAA.
Why Does Trump Want to Veto NDAA?
The president has threatened that he will not sign the legislation if it doesn’t include the termination of Section 230, a law passed by the Congress in 1996 as part of the Communications Decency Act. The section grants immunity to website publishers from liability for content posted by users. Essentially, the legislation does not treat providers as publishers, which are responsible for the information that appears on their platforms.
The president, who has accused Big Tech of bias, argues that social media companies act as publishers when they censor conservative voices or limit the spread of certain stories. Recently, Trump accused Twitter and Facebook of trying to hush up an expose on Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
Trump’s request to repeal Section 230 is opposed by representatives of both sides of the political aisle. The heads of Facebook and Twitter have warned against terminating the legislation, although admitted that it should be updated.
What Happens if Trump Vetoes the NDAA?
If the Senate approves the 2021 National Defence Authorisation Act, Trump will have 10 days to make his decision – sign it into law or reject (veto) it. If he refuses to approve the bill, it will then return to the House where it originated. The veto, however, can be overridden by a two-thirds vote both in the House of Representative and the Senate. If this occurs, the National Defence Authorisation Act will become law.