After threatening to veto the $740 billion national defense authorization bill that was “the toughest” for China during his term on Twitter, U.S. President Trump officially vetoed the bill on December 23 local time.
In this way, the US media predicted that Trump gave five reasons, including the name of the military base, section 230 of the Communications Regulations Act, etc. In addition, he also claimed that the national defense authorization bill was a “gift for China and Russia”.
Trump’s veto has caused a stir between the two parties in the United States. Not only did House Speaker Pelosi call it a “reckless act”, but also Senate Republican Leader McConnell rarely “disrupted” with Trump. Next week, Congress is likely to vote to overturn Trump’s veto.
Trump vetoed the defense bill and gave 5 reasons.
On the 23rd local time, the White House website released a Trump statement announcing the official veto of the Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2021, which had previously been overwhelmingly passed by both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Trump declared in a statement that the bill failed to include key national security measures, failed to respect the history of veterans and the United States, and contradicted the current administration’s efforts to put the United States first in national security and foreign policy actions. Therefore, it was a “gift” for China and Russia.
He also boasted that no one worked harder than him, and no one had more money than he approved for the military, and almost “reconstructed the American army” during his tenure. The bill failed to prevent the “very dangerous national security risk” in section 230 of the Communications Regulatory Act, so it will make the intelligence work of the United States difficult.
Bloomberg said that section 230 of the U.S. Communications Regulatory Act has long protected companies such as Twitter, Google and Facebook from being responsible for the content published by users, while giving platforms the freedom to review users’ published content. But Trump has been dissatisfied with this and wants to add a clause to the defense bill to eliminate the provisions of Article 230.
In response, Trump claimed in a statement that Article 230 fueled the online spread of foreign “false information” and posed a serious threat to the “national security and electoral integrity” of the United States and must be repealed.
In addition to clause 230, Trump also gave four other reasons, which are basically the same as many American media expected before.
Due to this year’s “Black Lives Are Life” movement, the new Defense Authorization Act contains provisions requiring certain military installations with Confederate names to be renamed. But Trump said that these sites are important to American history and those who help write American history, so he opposes this “politically motivated” erasure of history.
In addition, Trump said that the bill limits the president’s ability to maintain national security and the amount of military construction funds that can be used to respond to national emergencies.” In an era when opponents have the means to attack the homeland directly, the president must be able to protect the American people without waiting for congressional authorization.”
Trump believes that there is an amendment to the new bill that will slow down the promotion of 5G nationwide, especially in rural areas.
Finally, Trump believes that many provisions in the bill directly contradict his foreign policy, especially with regard to withdrawal measures: “I share the American public in opposing endless wars. However, the bill, despite bipartisan opposition, is intended to limit the president’s ability to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, Germany and South Korea. This policy is not only bad, but also unconstitutional.”
Trump concluded: “For all these reasons, I can’t support this bill. My government has taken strong actions to help maintain the security of our country and support our military personnel. I will not approve this bill, because it will put Washington’s interests above the interests of the American people.”
It is worth mentioning that although Trump last tweeted that the new defense bill “the biggest winner is China” and this time called the bill a “gift to China and Russia”, the bill has actually targeted China very explicitly.
Jack Reed, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a Democrat, threatened: “President Trump obviously did not read the bill and did not understand what it was. Here are a few bipartisan terms that have a tougher attitude towards China than the Trump administration has ever had.”
In fact, the bill will provide a defense budget of $740.5 billion in fiscal year 2021, covering all aspects of military salaries, equipment procurement and foreign affairs. Among them, there are nearly 40 articles related to China, covering military, technical, academic, economic and trade and other fields, “reflecting the overall challenges posed by China”.
Among them, the most eye-catching is the so-called Pacific Deterrence Initiative. The Washington Post said that the plan aims to strengthen the U.S. presence and allies in the Indo-Pacific region and provide funding for more attack submarines. Attack submarines are critical to fighting China’s strong maritime power, senior Pentagon officials claim.
But the new plan’s first year of funding was $2.2 billion, which is only a small part of the $740.5 billion bill, which is generally used to strengthen the U.S. defensive posture, capabilities and alliances in the region. Therefore, the U.S. military admits that the decision of the Biden administration will largely determine the plan.
Trump threatened to veto one after another, and Washington was “shocked”
Trump’s official veto quickly caused a stir between the two parties. House Speaker Pelosi immediately responded: “A shocking reckless act that hurt our army, endangers our safety and undermines the will of Congress, both parties.”
Democratic Senator Mark Warne of Virginia called Trump’s veto “unreasonable” and said he would “look forward to overturning” the veto.
The Associated Press said that the House of Representatives will vote to override the veto next Monday (28th), while the Senate will vote on Tuesday. According to the U.S. Constitution, both houses of the Senate and the House of Representatives can overturn the presidential veto with two-thirds of the vote.
At present, it is still doubtful whether Congress can overturn the veto. Previously, the House of Representatives passed the new defense authorization bill by 335 votes to 78. The Senate passed it by a vote of 84 to 13. Both the Senate and the House of Representatives account for more than two-thirds of the votes.
In addition, the Associated Press said that McConnell rarely broke with Trump after the Trump veto. His spokesman, David Popp, said that the Senate plan guidance on the vote to overturn defense legislation will be issued after the House of Representatives takes action.
But House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California, said he would “not vote against the president’s veto” despite his previous vote in favor of the new defense authorization bill.
Bloomberg commented that Trump’s rejection of the “critical” legislation has exacerbated the already tense relationship between the White House and Congress. Just a day ago, he criticized the $900 billion coronavirus relief bill passed by both houses of Congress on the evening of the 21st, which “shocked” Washington after months of negotiations.
Along with the coronavirus relief bill, there is also a comprehensive government spending bill that includes $1.4 trillion to fund government operations by September next year. If Trump had not signed the bill by December 28, government funds would have gone out after midnight that day, leading to a partial shutdown of the government.