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Senate passes $740B defense bill with enough votes to override Trump veto

President Trump at the Operation Warp Speed Vaccine Summit. (Shealah Craighead/White House)
December 11, 2020

The Senate passed the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on Friday with enough votes to override a veto if President Trump follows through with his repeated veto threats.

A Senate vote of 84-13 approved the bill, exceeding the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto. The vote follows the House of Representatives’ 335-78 vote – also a veto-proof majority – on Tuesday. The bill will now be sent to the president.

President Trump said he would veto the NDAA because it failed to include a provision to repeal Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act. Section 230 codifies immunities for websites and web services to post or remove content.

Section 230 has come under fire as social media giants like Twitter and Facebook are accused of acting like publishers, demonstrating bias on the platforms, and infringing on users’ free speech.

A final agreement was reached for the $740 billion defense bill last week. A conference report explaining the bill’s contents provides no mention of Section 230 repeal or reform.

In a tweet last week, Trump said, “Very sadly for our Nation, it looks like Senator @JimInhofe will not be putting the Section 230 termination clause into the Defense Bill. So bad for our National Security and Election Integrity. Last chance to ever get it done. I will VETO!”

The bill contains a provision requiring the Department of Defense rename military bases named for Confederate figures – another provision that has drawn Trump’s ire.

In addition to providing funds for military equipment like planes, ships and tanks, the NDAA is also set to include election security and coronavirus-related spending provisions, as well as a three percent pay raise for U.S. troops.