Pres. Trump’s first veto override appears imminent

The National Review reports that Republican leaders in the Senate are prepared to override President Donald Trump’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). 

If this does happen, it will be the first time that the president has had a veto overridden. Thus far, he has successfully used the executive veto power on eight occasions.

“I will VETO”

Over the past week, President Trump has threatened to veto the NDAA on several occasions.

Just on Tuesday morning, Trump tweeted, “I hope House Republicans will vote against the very weak National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which I will VETO. Must include a termination of Section 230 (for National Security purposes), preserve our National Monuments, & allow for 5G & troop reductions in foreign lands!”

President Trump, in short, has two main problems with the NDAA. The first is that it will require the Pentagon to rename military bases that have been named after Confederates. The second is that the NDAA does not repeal Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act.

Section 230 is a liability shield for social media platforms, protecting companies such as Facebook and Twitter from being sued for content posted by users. Last week, President Trump called Section 230 “a serious threat to our National Security & Election Integrity,” adding that “Our Country can never be safe & secure if we allow it to stand.”

Two possible veto scenarios

President Trump is expected to follow through on his threat to veto the NDAA, and Congress is now expected to respond with a veto override. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel (R-KY) made that clear on Monday.

Although many members of Congress agree with the president that Section 230 needs to go, they have argued that the NDAA is not the place to address this issue. Congressional Republicans who have made this argument have been criticized for being bureaucratic.

Such an override would require the vote of two-thirds of the House and of two-thirds of the Senate. It looks likely that this threshold would be met, but, at the time of this writing, it is still less than clear. Historically, veto overrides are very rare with only 111 having taken place in American history.

Another option for President Trump, according to the Washington Examiner, would be to attempt a “pocket veto,” which is permitted at such times as the present – at the end of a session with Congress about to adjourn. The president can do so by simply not signing the NDAA. But, here, Congress can avoid a pocket veto by not formally adjourning, a practice that has recently become common.

Looking forward

Congress is expected to vote on the NDAA on Tuesday. Then, America will see if President Trump follows through on his threat. If he does, it would set in motion the above scenarios.

Fox News reports that “there are consequences for the military if Congress and the president fail to reach an agreement on the bill. New training regimens cease. Also, members of the military won’t receive bonuses and hazard pay. Fox is told at least 100,000 members of the armed forces will see a reduction in pay.”

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