Rejecting Trump veto, Republican-led Senate backs defense bill
WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump suffered a scathing reprimand in the U.S. Senate on Friday when fellow Republicans joined the Democrats to dominate a presidential veto for the first time in his term.
Gathering in a rare New Year’s Day session, senators voted 81-13 to secure the two-thirds majority needed to dominate the veto. Eight previous Trump vetoes have been upheld.
The Senate has also now ended a Democrat blockade to increase COVID-19’s financial relief checks from $ 600 to $ 2,000, a change sought by Trump. Senator Bernie Sanders rejoined Democrats in an effort to force a vote on higher payments, only to be blocked by Republicans.
Republican lawmakers largely stood by the president during his turbulent term in the White House.
However, since losing his re-election offer in November, Trump has spoken out against them for not fully supporting his alleged allegations of voter fraud, for rejecting his demand for greater COVID-19 relief tests and for wanting to overrule his veto.
The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives voted Monday to replace the veto. A president has the power to veto a bill passed by Congress, but lawmakers can uphold the bill if two-thirds of both houses vote to replace the veto.
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of $ 740 billion determines everything, from how many ships are bought to soldiers’ payment and how to address geopolitical threats.
Trump refused to sign it into law because he did not repeal certain legal protections for social media platforms and included a provision that removed the names of confederate generals from military bases.
“We have been implementing this legislation for 59 consecutive years. “Somehow, we are going to complete the 60th annual NDAA and give it to the law before this Congress closes Sunday,” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said before the vote.
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused the president of using his last weeks in office to wreak havoc and said in a statement that Congress had encouraged him to put an end to his desperate and dangerous to make sabotage.
Until Friday’s vote, Trump was on track to be the first president since Lyndon Johnson, without being vetoed.
The bill also revises the rules against money laundering and the ban on anonymous shell companies, a victory for law enforcers and rights groups who have long been trying to make changes to facilitate the illegal flow of money.
According to authorities, the U.S. has poor rules for disclosing corporate owners to allow criminals to use legal entities to move their cash around the world.
The vote could have implications Tuesday for two U.S. Senate elections in Georgia, which will determine control of the chamber under incumbent Democratic President Joe Biden. , strongly back both Trump and the military.
But neither Perdue nor Loeffler voted Friday. Nor a trusted Trump ally, Senator Lindsey Graham. Perdue was quarantined this week after contacting someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Spokesmen for Loeffler and Graham did not respond to requests for comment.
The pressure to have the Confederate names removed from U.S. bases gained momentum after George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was killed in May last year by a Minneapolis police officer, causing months of protests over racial injustice.
By law, the Secretary of Defense must set up a 45-day commission that must draw up a plan to remove the names of the Confederate soldiers and leaders from the Department of Defense and implement the plan within three years.
Among the bases for which a name change is needed is the largest U.S. military base, Fort Bragg in North Carolina, named after Confederate General Braxton Bragg.
The bill limits Trump’s ability to immediately withdraw all remaining U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
The measure requires Trump to submit a ‘comprehensive, intergenetic assessment of the risks and consequences before using funds to reduce US military personnel in Afghanistan to below 4,000 or current levels and again before it is below 2,000’, reads a summary .
While votes were counting indicating that Trump had lost, the president decided on Twitter to plan a protest march scheduled for Wednesday in Washington, the day the new Congress officially approves the Electoral College, confirming Biden’s presidential victory.
Some Trump allies in Congress have said they plan to object on behalf of Trump, including Senator Josh Hawley, who expects up to 140 other Republicans to join the House. The majority of legislators are expected to reject the objections.
Hawley admitted that he has not yet decided how many results the election will be in the state.
Republican Senator Ben Sasse exploded the move as an attempt by ambitious politicians to harness Trump’s populist base and said on Facebook on Wednesday: “Adults do not aim a loaded gun at the heart of legitimate self-government.”
Trump tweeted about the Senate’s refusal to include its call for more aid from COVID-19 and to lift legal protection for social media platforms.
‘Our Republican Senate just missed the opportunity to get rid of Article 230, which gives Big Tech businesses unlimited power. Pathetic !!! Now they want to give people plagued by the China virus $ 600, rather than the $ 2000 they so desperately need. Not fair or clever! He wrote.