GOP-controlled Senate votes to reverse Trump’s defense bill veto

For four years in the White House, President Donald Trump never once had to worry about being on the losing end of a veto override vote, but that all changed earlier this week in one of the last major legislative moves of the 116th Congress.

In a rare New Year’s Day session, the Senate convened for a vote on a veto override of the National Defense Authorization Act — a bill that the president trashed after Congress failed to include language that would nix the controversial Section 230 protections for big tech social media sites. 

The NDAA will provide U.S. military troops a three percent raise and it also includes securing a number of new pieces of military equipment, among other benefits.

Republicans pick sides

In an 81-13 vote in the GOP-controlled Senate, Trump’s veto of the bill was quickly shot down, with a number of senators who have consistently allied with the president in the past suddenly rebuking his veto, The Hill reported.

Only seven Republican senators stood with the president on the veto of the NDAA, with long-standing Senate allies Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) among them.

The override vote came just days after the same vote in the House of Representatives, which ended in a 322-87 vote in favor of overriding the president’s veto attempt. Both chambers of Congress easily rallied the two-thirds vote required for such a rare event, with over 100 Republican lawmakers bucking the president’s wishes.

Adding to the unfortunate series of events for the president, the Senate also essentially shot down any remote chance of bumping the COVID-19 stimulus package checks to $2,000 as the president has repeatedly demanded for struggling Americans who’ve lost their jobs and livelihoods thanks in part to harsh pandemic lockdowns across the country.

“Our Republican Senate just missed the opportunity to get rid of Section 230, which gives unlimited power to Big Tech companies. Pathetic!!!” Trump tweeted, according to Politico. “Now they want to give people ravaged by the China Virus $600, rather than the $2000 which they so desperately need. Not fair, or smart!”

The Pressure

Some of Trump’s Republican allies, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, were not happy with Trump threatening to veto the bill based on the lack of including language to repeal Section 230, which ultimately forced somewhat of a “loyalty test” among Republicans in Congress.

Some GOP senators, like Sen. Tim Scott (R-FL) went out of his way to make sure the president knows that he stands with him on the idea to repeal Section 230, announcing his plans to side with Trump on the issue if it ever makes it to the Senate floor.

“And while I vote today to fund America’s military—our first and last line of defense—I will also stand with the President to ensure we have the votes to reform Section 230 and keep social media companies accountable to the will of the people,” Scott tweeted during the crucial vote.

The veto override comes just days before Republicans from both chambers of Congress are set to stage an objection vote to a number of battleground states from the 2020 election when Congress convenes on January 6 to formally certify each state’s Electoral College votes.

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