US President Donald Trump on Wednesday vetoed massive annual defence policy bill, saying it fails to include critical national security measures and is a gift to Russia and China.
This is the first and only veto override of his presidency.
Congress passed the annual fiscal 2021 National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA) earlier this month.
Trump had threatened to veto the NDAA because it fails to repeal a 1996 law that gives social media platforms liability protection for third-party posts and freedom to police the content.
“My administration recognizes the importance of the Act to our national security,” Trump said in a message notifying Congress of the veto.
“Unfortunately, the Act fails to include critical national security measures, includes provisions that fail to respect our veterans and our military’s history, and contradicts efforts by my Administration to put America first in our national security and foreign policy actions,” he added.
Trump previously objected to the USD 740 billion policy legislation because it did not include a provision repealing Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a 1996 law that provides a legal shield to tech companies like Twitter and Facebook.
Trump said in Wednesday’s message that the mandated changes to Confederate-named bases amounted to a politically motivated attempt “to wash away history and to dishonor the immense progress our country has fought for in realizing our founding principles”.
He also called the bill a “gift” to Russia and China.
In order to override Trump’s veto, both the Senate and House would need two-thirds of their members to vote in favour of overriding it. The bill already passed the Senate in an 84-13 vote and the House in a 355-78 vote.
Congress must override the veto before noon on January 3 as when the 117th Congress will be sworn in. If Congress fails to override the veto by then, lawmakers would need to start from scratch on the bill.
The House plans to hold its veto override vote Monday in a rare post-Christmas session.