WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump lashed out at congressional Republicans after the House easily voted to override his veto of a defence policy bill.
A total of 109 Republicans, including Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, a member of the party leadership, joined with Democrats to approve the override, which would be the first of Trumps presidency. The Senate is expected to consider the measure later this week.
Trump slammed Republicans lawmakers on Twitter, charging on Tuesday that Weak and tired Republican leadership will allow the bad Defence Bill to pass.
Trump called the override vote a disgraceful act of cowardice and total submission by weak people to Big Tech. “Negotiate a better Bill, or get better leaders, NOW! Senate should not approve NDAA until fixed!!!”
The vote sends the override effort to the Senate, although the exact timing is uncertain. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said he will delay a vote on the defence bill until Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell allows a vote on a Trump-backed plan to increase Covid-19 relief payments to $2,000.
“Let me be clear: If Senator McConnell doesn’t agree to an up or down vote to provide the working people of our country a $2,000 direct payment, Congress will not be going home for New Years Eve,” Sanders, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, said after the House vote. “Let’s do our job.”
McConnell has not said publicly how he will address the relief-check issue or the defense bill.
Trump rejected the defence measure last week, saying it failed to limit social media companies he claims were biased against him during his failed reelection campaign. Trump also opposes language that allows for the renaming of military bases that honor Confederate leaders.
The defence bill, known as the National Defence Authorisation Act, or NDAA, affirms three percent pay raises for US troops and authorises more than $740 billion in military programmes and construction.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said after the House vote that lawmakers has done their part to ensure the NDAA becomes law “despite the presidents dangerous sabotage efforts.” “Trump’s reckless veto would have denied our service members hazard-duty pay,” removed key protections for global peace and security and undermined our nations values and work to combat racism, by blocking overwhelmingly bipartisan action to rename military bases,” Pelosi said.
Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, called the bill absolutely vital to our national security and our troops,” adding, “Our men and women who volunteer to wear the uniform shouldn’t be denied what they need ever.
Trump has succeeded throughout his four-year term in enforcing party discipline in Congress, with few Republicans willing to publicly oppose him. The bipartisan vote on the widely popular defense bill showed the limits of Trump’s influence in the final weeks before he leaves office, and came minutes after 130 House Republicans voted against a Trump-supported plan to increase Covid-19 relief checks to $2,000.
The House approved the larger payments, but the plan faces an uncertain future in the Republican-controlled Senate, another sign of Trump’s fading hold over Congress.