Trump vetoes the defense bill, setting potential vote waivers

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump vetoed the annual defense policy bill on Wednesday, following threats to veto a measure that has broad bipartisan support in Congress and possibly his first substitute vote. presidency.

The bill confirms a 3% pay rise for US troops and allows more than $ 740 billion in military programs and construction.

The move came while Trump was in hiding in the White House, hesitating about his election loss and escalating his deadlock with Republicans as he pushed for fraudulent conspiracy theories and tried to pressure them to back his efforts to reverse the results.

The House was about to return on Monday and the Senate on Tuesday to consider votes to override the president’s veto.

Long before he vetoed it, Trump offered a series of reasons for rejecting it. He has called on lawmakers to put limits on social media companies he claimed are biased against him – and to scrap language that would allow military bases like Fort Benning and Fort Hood to be renamed that honor Confederate leaders. Without going into detail, he has claimed that the biggest winner of the defense law would be China.

In his veto to the House, Trump cited those objections, stating that the measure “does not contain critical national security measures, contains provisions that disrespect our veterans and our military history, and contradicts efforts by my administration to force America on the first place. our actions in the field of national security and foreign policy. It is a ‘gift’ for China and Russia. “

He also wrote, “Numerous provisions of the law directly contradict my government’s foreign policy, especially my efforts to bring our troops home.

Both the House and Senate approved the measure with a margin wide enough to overturn a veto by the president. Trump had previously vetoed eight bills, but those vetoes were upheld because supporters were not given the two-thirds vote needed in every chamber for the bill to go into effect without Trump’s signature.

Ahead of the veto, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Said the bill would help deter Chinese aggression. Other GOP supporters of the measure, including Senator John Thune of South Dakota, the second Senate leader, and Rep. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, have tweeted that the bill would counter the threat to countries such as China .

Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed, the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Forces Committee, said Trump’s statement that China was the biggest winner in defense law was incorrect. Reed also noted the varying statements Trump had given for the veto.

“President Trump has clearly not read the bill, nor does he understand what it says,” Reed said. “There are several bipartisan provisions here that are getting tougher on China than the Trump administration has ever been.”

The measure drives Pentagon policy and reinforces decisions about troop levels, new weapon systems and military readiness, military personnel policies and other military targets. Many programs cannot come into effect until the bill is passed, including military construction.

McConnell, in a rare break with Trump, had pushed for passage despite Trump’s threat to veto it. McConnell said it was important for Congress to continue its nearly six-decade streak of defense policy approval.