Congress is preparing for a clash with President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump signs bill to keep government open amid relief talksUS to close two Russia consulates’Guardians of the Galaxy’ trends on social media following new Space Force nameMORE over a mammoth defense bill that could result in the first veto override of his presidency, just a month before he leaves office.
Trumps threat to veto the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) could scramble Congresss year-end schedule; lawmakers had been hoping to leave town once they pass a forthcoming deal to fund the government and provide year-end coronavirus relief.
But leaders are warning that if Trump vetoes the bill they are prepared to return to Washington to vote on trying to override. Trump has issued eight vetoes, none of which have been successfully overridden.
House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerCongress passes bill to avert shutdown as coronavirus talks drag into weekendHouse passes two-day stopgap bill to avoid shutdownGovernment faces shutdown as year-end deal remains elusiveMORE (D-Md.) and House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam SmithDavid (Adam) Adam SmithBiden’s Pentagon pick puts Democrats in a bindOVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Biden taps ex-Obama chief for VA | Shutdown looms amid standoff | SCOTUS rules on rape cases in militaryOvernight Defense: Biden defends picking retired general for Pentagon head | House passes weeklong stopgap spending bill | Senate rejects effort to block Trump’s UAE arms saleMORE (D-Wash.) have indicated that dealing with this particular veto would be worth members flying back D.C.
Its not great timing, traveling during a pandemic and all that. We do have the proxy voting here. But yes, if the president vetoes it, we will come back and vote to override, Smith told reporters in a recent conference call.
Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneCongress passes bill to avert shutdown as coronavirus talks drag into weekendGOP senator backs down from shutdown threatTop GOP senator: Relief deal unlikely before government funding set to expireMORE (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, said that “if the House overrides, we will come back. If they sustain it with their vote, we wont.”
Under the rules governing vetoes, Trump has 10 days, not including Sundays or the day the White House receives a bill, to veto. That means he has until Dec. 23 to veto the NDAA and kick the fight back to Capitol Hill.
If Trump drags out his veto, which lawmakers worry he will, that could set up a rare post-Christmas vote that gives Congress a tight time frame to try to override and get the defense bill, which passed with majority-proof votes initially, into law.
It seems to me that what hes doing is waiting until the 23rd, said Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeLawmakers call for Trump to take action on massive government hackLawmakers ask whether massive hack amounted to act of warTrump faces bipartisan, international pushback on Western Sahara recognitionMORE (R-Okla.). Thats just a suspicion that I have.
To successfully override Trump, both the House and Senate would need to vote before noon on Jan. 3, when the 117th Congress will start.
Because the House passed the defense bill first initially, it will need to vote first, and if it falls short, the veto effort in Congress is immediately squashed.
If the House votes to override, a first for Trump, the matter goes to the Senate, where senators say they could hold a final vote on a veto override on the morning of Jan. 3 before the 117th Congress is sworn in.
Opponents of overriding the presidents veto could drag out procedural hurdles by forcing a cloture vote, requiring the override effort to initially get 60 votes, according to the Congressional Research Service. To ultimately override in the Senate, as in the House, will require two-thirds support.
The House would need to send the veto message to the Senate by Dec. 29 to overcome any procedural hurdles and finish by Jan. 3, a Democratic House aide told The Hill.
Lawmakers had hoped a strong enough vote would dissuade Trump from vetoing the bill, which passed the House 335-78 and the Senate 84-13, with GOP senators back-channelling with the president to try to get him to back down.
And they are arguing that a recent massive hack of an IT group that contracts with the government suspected to have been carried out by the Russians only strengthens their case that the bill needs to be quickly signed into law.
This years national defense bill contains over two dozen provisions that would make critical progress in cybersecurity, including provisions that would help ensure the resiliency of our nations nuclear command and control systems, six House Armed Services Committee Republicans, including outgoing ranking member Mac Thonberry (Texas), incoming ranking member Mike RogersMichael (Mike) Dennis RogersLawmakers call for Trump to take action on massive government hackThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Mastercard – COVID-19 relief, omnibus talks go down to the wireBiden adviser Richmond tests positive for COVID-19MORE (Ala.) and GOP Conference Chairwoman Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyTop GOP lawmakers call for Swalwell to be removed from Intelligence CommitteeGOP leaders pinched by pro-Trump bid to reverse election outcomeHouse Republicans who didn’t sign onto the Texas lawsuitMORE (Wyo.), said in a statement.
But Trump and the White House have doubled down on his threat several times, reiterating his complaints that it would not repeal a tech liability shield, would rename Confederate-named military bases and would put up roadblocks to Trump’s orders withdrawing troops from Afghanistan and Germany.
The president also recently added an unspecified gripe that the NDAA is weak on China, despite the fact that the bill would create a $2.2 billion fund specifically to counter China, among other provisions aimed directly at Beijing. Those provisions have been a major selling point for the bill among Republicans.
I will Veto the Defense Bill, which will make China very unhappy, Trump tweeted Thursday. They love it. Must have Section 230 termination, protect our National Monuments and allow for removal of military from far away, and very unappreciative, lands. Thank you!
Asked this week to explain Trumps China concerns, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany pointed back to his demand to repeal Section 230.
Neither the original House-passed defense bill nor the original Senate bill included a repeal or reform of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a 1996 law that gives online platforms liability protection for content posted by third parties while allowing them to make good-faith content moderation efforts.
Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamBiden says Lindsey Graham is a ‘personal disappointment’ as a former colleagueGOP signals no support for relief ‘down payment’Rep.-elect Issa says Trump should attend Biden inaugurationMORE (R-S.C.), a close Trump ally, introduced a stand-alone bill Tuesday that would sunset Section 230 in 2023 and spoke with Trump about the legislation this week.
If he wants to have a debate and a vote on Section 230 I think we should do that. Is that enough to prevent him from doing the veto, I dont know, Graham said of their conversation.
But its unlikely Grahams proposal would get a vote with Congress racing to wrap up its work for the end of the year.
An attempt to override Trumps veto would force Republicans to pick between siding with the president, who retains a tight grip on the partys base, or helping pass a defense bill that has been signed into law for the past 59 years.
Two GOP senators, Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyTrump signs bill to keep government open amid relief talksOn The Money: Congress passes bill to avert shutdown as coronavirus talks drag into weekend | Federal Reserve fight imperils relief talksOvernight Health Care: CVS, Walgreens to begin nursing home vaccinations | Pence receives coronavirus vaccine on camera | 8.2M people sign up for ObamaCareMORE (Mo.) and Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonDefense bill battle showcases 2024 GOP hopefulsOvernight Defense: Congress sends Trump defense bill he threatened to veto | Senate approves stopgap spending bill to prevent shutdown | Navy searching for sailor overboardSenate passes defense bill, setting up Trump veto fightMORE (Ark.), already voted against the final defense bill after supporting the Senates initial version. Both are members of the Armed Services Committee and considered potential 2024 presidential candidates.
I would not vote to override, Hawley told reporters.
Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonTrump signs bill to keep government open amid relief talksOn The Money: Congress passes bill to avert shutdown as coronavirus talks drag into weekend | Federal Reserve fight imperils relief talksPressley calls 0 stimulus checks an ‘insult’ to struggling AmericansMORE (R-Wis.), who is up for reelection in 2022 and has been tying himself closely to Trump, declined to say how he would handle a veto of the NDAA.
Im hoping he doesnt veto, Johnson said, adding that it is unfortunate that Trump had tweeted about his veto threat.
Johnson, asked again if he would override, said,  Ive got to see what his veto message is.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money: Congress passes bill to avert shutdown as coronavirus talks drag into weekend | Federal Reserve fight imperils relief talksCongress passes bill to avert shutdown as coronavirus talks drag into weekendOvernight Health Care: CVS, Walgreens to begin nursing home vaccinations | Pence receives coronavirus vaccine on camera | 8.2M people sign up for ObamaCareMORE (R-Ky.) hasnt said how he would handle a veto override attempt.
A veto would likely scramble the overwhelmingly bipartisan coalitions that helped pass the bill earlier this month. While some Democrats who voted against the defense bill have said they will flip to support a veto override, leadership is also expected to lose some Republican votes.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyHouse passes two-day stopgap bill to avoid shutdownPressley calls 0 stimulus checks an ‘insult’ to struggling AmericansMcCarthy, Pelosi receive FBI briefing on SwalwellMORE (R-Calif.) has said he would vote to sustain Trump’s veto, telling reporters that he didnt believe Republicans vote to override a veto of a president theyve worked with.
Graham also signaled that, for now, he wouldnt support a veto override unless theres some breakthrough in the tech fight.
“I’m going to stick with the president and his effort to get something done on 230, he said. If it takes using the NDAA as leverage so be it.