Donald Trump’s presidential veto of a bill he disliked was overturned by Congress on Friday – the first time they have overruled the president since he came to office in 2017 (Picture: Getty)
Donald Trump faced humiliation after senators blocked his attempt to scrap an upcoming defense bill – the first such instance of him being overridden as president.
The president’s attempt to veto the $740billion defense bill was overturned by Friday’s senate vote, which saw 81 senators vote in favor of keeping the bill, and just 13 voting to stop it. That comes despite Trump’s Republican Party having a 52 seat majority in the senate.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell – a vocal ally of the president’s until his election defeat in November – said: ‘One way or another, we are going to complete the 60th annual NDAA and pass it into law before this Congress concludes on Sunday.
McConnell was referring to the National Defense Authorization Act, whose policies include a 3% pay rise for US troops. Trump hit out at the bill because it opens the door for US military bases named after Confederate leaders to be renamed.
The president is also angry that the NDAA he tried to block does not impose new sanctions against social media companies, whose alleged bias he claims helped cost him the election.
Trump had wanted social media companies to be officially classified as publishers, leaving them open to the same type of legal action faced by other media companies for issues such as libel.
He used the power of his presidential veto to stop the proposed bill last week, but that bill was successfully overturned by the two thirds ‘supermajority’ of Congress who voted to continue with it.
The president, who leaves office in three weeks, appeared to concede that the bill would ultimately pass earlier this week. He tweeted: ‘Weak and tired Republican ‘leadership’ will allow the bad Defense Bill to pass.’
The bill also met with widespread approval in the lower house of the US Congress, the House of Representatives, where 322 people voted in favor of it, and just 87 against.
Senator McConnell said the bill ‘looks after the brave men and women who volunteer to wear the uniform.’
Trump managed to successfully veto eight other bills during his time in office. Congress did not reach the required two thirds majority needed to override those vetoes.
Friday’s defeat appears to show that the president’s grip is starting to slip over his party, which he previously ruled with a rod of iron.
Trump supporters in Congress are likely to force a debate on the presidential election result when it is formally certified on January 6.
But many Trump allies in Congress insist Biden’s win was a fair one, and are expected to help certify the Democrat as the next US president.
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