Trump vetoes the National Defense Authorization Act for 2021, sends it back to Congress

Trump vetoes the National Defense Authorization Act for 2021, sends it back to Congress

President Donald Trump has vetoed an annual military spending bill worth $740 billion, sending it back to Congress. The bill included a number of partisan amendments, including a block on the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

Trump announced he had vetoed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on Wednesday, making good on an earlier promise to send the annual defense spending bill back to Congress to be reworked. The NDAA, which allocates defense funding for fiscal year 2021, passed both houses of Congress with bipartisan support, as it has for 59 straight years in a row.

The bill, however, passed the Senate with a veto-proof majority, so Senators will now return to Capitol Hill after Christmas either to amend the legislation, or to vote to override Trump’s veto.

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Trump had no issue with the bill’s massive allocation of funds to the US military, since he has repeatedly bragged on the campaign trail about increasing that spending. Instead, the president focused his criticism on a number of provisions tacked on to the bill by his political opponents.

Among them are provisions that would prevent him from withdrawing US forces from Afghanistan without Congressional approval, and allow for the renaming of US military bases with Confederate names.

Trump also promised to veto the bill if it did not include a provision to repeal Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which shields social media companies from legal action over content posted on their platforms. 

However, in a message to the House of Representatives, Trump described the NDAA as “a gift to China and Russia,” without elaborating further.

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FILE PHOTO: Donald Trump speaks to business leaders during a state visit to Beijing, China, November 9, 2017 © Reuters / Thomas Peter
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Though the NDAA has passed Congress every year for nearly six decades, Trump is not the first president to reject it. Barack Obama vetoed the 2015 iteration of the NDAA, claiming that the version he was presented with included Republican-crafted loopholes that bypassed his proposed budget cuts to the military.

Before Obama, the NDAA was vetoed four times, by Jimmy Carter in 1978, Ronald Reagan in 1988, Bill Clinton in 1996, and George W. Bush in 2007.

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