Politics & Policy

McConnell Urges Trump not to Veto Defense Bill, Sets Up Override Effort

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday urged President Trump not to carry out his threat to veto the recently passed $740 billion national defense bill and set up a veto override effort on December 29 in case he does.

The Republican-controlled Senate approved the bill earlier this month 84-13 in spite of the president’s threat that he would veto legislation that did not include the repeal of Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which provides legal safeguards for Big Tech companies.

McConnell scheduled a veto override effort on December 29 should Trump veto the legislation, according to CSPAN producer Craig Caplan, who tweeted remarks from the Senate majority leader on the Senate floor early Tuesday.

“The Democrat Leader [Sen. Charles Schumer] 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,” McConnell said on the Senate floor early Tuesday, hours after passing the $900 billion pandemic relief legislation.

“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,” he added.

The Senate vote handily surpassed the two-thirds requirement to override a potential veto, though Republicans could stand divided should Trump follow through on his veto threat, Senator John Thune (R., S.D.) warned.

Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) expressed concern over a measure in the bill regarding future U.S. troop withdrawals from Afghanistan, saying he worried the language “creates 535 commanders-in-chief in Congress” and inhibits the president’s ability to deploy troops as he sees necessary.

“I very much am opposed to the Afghan war, and I’ve told them I’ll come back to try to prevent them from easily overriding the president’s veto,” Paul said Monday, according to The Hill.

Paul is opposing establishing “pro forma sessions,” which makes a potential override more difficult.

However, Caplan said that while McConnell spoke about the override, Paul was “seated on the Senate Floor but did not object to the unanimous consent on NDAA.”

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