Trump And Congress Clash On Defense Bill

It's going to be close.

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In a parting shot at Congress, the president is going toe to toe with both houses over the NDAA Defense bill. He wants riders and deletions. The Congress passed a bipartisan bill that, while not optimum, is certainly the best the country may get over the next four years. Mitch McConnell knows this, hence his defiance of the president on this matter.

FNC: “President Trump is expected to veto the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Wednesday, sources tell Fox News, forcing the House and Senate to reconvene immediately following Christmas. Trump’s promise to veto the $740 billion defense package, which directs Pentagon funding and policy, will force Democrats and Republicans to attempt to override his ruling. Trump has until Dec. 23 to veto the NDAA, which will force House members to reconvene on Dec. 28 to vote on the override. If they are successful in obtaining a two-thirds vote in favor of rejecting Trump’s veto, the Senate will then vote to override on Dec. 29, sources confirmed for Fox News. The defense bill was approved by Congress with strong bipartisan support, passing in the House 335-78, and in the Senate 84-13 – making it likely Congress could override the president’s veto.”

“He still does plan to veto the NDAA,” White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany told reporters on Tuesday.

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“I will Veto the Defense Bill, which will make China very unhappy. They love it,” Trump tweeted last Thursday. “Must have Section 230 termination, protect our National Monuments and allow for removal of military from far away, and very unappreciative, lands. Thank you!”

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During debate, Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, blamed Rep. Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming, for opposing a part of the bill that gives the president the sole power to withdraw troops from foreign assignments. Paul called her a “neocon,” and said she was “substantiating war and making sure that it becomes and is perpetual war.”

Paul added, “I’ve told them I’ll come back to try to prevent them from easily overriding the defense bill veto.”

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“It seems to me what he’s doing is waiting until the 23rd,” Senate Armed Services Chair Jim Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma, told press. “That’s just a suspicion that I have…You have to find a time when people are going to be here. And the obvious time would be the twenty third because we’re going to be back.”

Politico: “House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, for instance, said he won’t vote to override Trump’s veto despite supporting the defense bill. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who has backed Trump’s efforts to use the defense bill to repeal Section 230, said he’ll side with the president if he vetoes the measure. ‘I’m going to stick with the president and his effort to get something done on 230,’ Graham told reporters. ‘If it takes using the NDAA as leverage, so be it.’

Mitch McConnell was not impressed. “The Democrat leader and I have agreed to unanimous request as follows: the Senate will meet for pro forma sessions only until Dec. 29 when we will return to session. In the event the president has vetoed the bill and the House has voted to override the veto (Dec. 28), the Senate would have the opportunity to process the veto override at the time.”

David Kamioner
meet the author

David Kamioner is a veteran of U.S. Army Intelligence and an honors graduate of the University of Maryland's European Division. He also served with the Pershing Nuclear Brigade and the First Infantry Division. Subsequent to that he worked for two decades as a political consultant, was part of the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina disaster relief effort in Louisiana, ran a homeless shelter for veterans in Philadelphia, and taught as a college instructor. He serves as a Contributing Editor for LifeZette.

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