WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump on Wednesday vetoed the annual defense policy bill, which followed threats to veto a measure that has broad bipartisan support in Congress and potentially created the first breach of his presidency.
The bill confirms wage increases of 3% for U.S. troops and approves more than $ 740 billion in military programs and construction.
The action came as Trump was locked up in the White House, stabbed about his election loss and escalated his standoff with Republicans as he pushed false conspiracy theories and tried to pressure them to back his efforts to overthrow the results.
The House was ready to return Monday and the Senate Tuesday to consider votes to override the president’s veto.
Long before the veto was issued, Trump offered a number of rationales to reject it. He has urged lawmakers to include boundaries for social media companies that he claimed were biased against him – and to remove languages that allow for the renaming of military bases like Fort Benning and Fort Hood, which honor Confederate leaders. Without going into details, he has claimed that the biggest winner from the defense proposal would be China.
In his veto to Parliament, Trump cited these objections, saying the measure “does not include critical national security measures, contains provisions that do not respect the history of our veterans and our military, and contradicts my government’s efforts to put America first in our national security and foreign policy. actions. It is a ‘gift’ to China and Russia. ”
He also wrote: “Numerous provisions in the law are in direct conflict with my government’s foreign policy, in particular my efforts to bring our troops home.
Both the House and the Senate passed the measure by margins large enough to override a veto by the president. Trump had previously vetoed eight bills, but those vetoes were upheld because supporters did not get the two-thirds needed in each chamber for the bill to become law without Trump’s signature.
Prior to the veto, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Has said the bill will help deter Chinese aggression. Other GOP supporters of the measure, including Senator John Thune of South Dakota, the second-ranked Senate leader, and Rep. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, has tweeted that the bill counteracts threats from countries. such as China.
Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island, the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Trump’s statement that China was the biggest winner in the defense proposal was false. Reed also noted the shifting explanations Trump had given for the veto.
“President Trump has clearly not read the bill, nor does he understand what is in it,” Reed said. “There are several bipartisan provisions in here that are getting tougher on China than the Trump administration has ever been.”
The measure governs the Pentagon’s policy and cements decisions on troop levels, new weapon systems and military preparedness, military personnel policy, and other military objectives. Many programs can only enter into force if the bill is approved, including military construction.
McConnell had, in a rare break with Trump, called for passage despite Trump’s threat to veto it. McConnell said it was important for Congress to continue its nearly six-decade-long strike by adopting the defense policy proposal.