Trump’s promise to veto the $740 billion defense package, which directs Pentagon funding and policy, will force Democrats and Republicans to attempt to override his ruling.
Trump has until Dec. 23 to veto the NDAA, which will force House members to reconvene on Dec. 28 to vote on the override. If they are successful in obtaining a two-thirds vote in favor of rejecting Trump’s veto, the Senate will then vote to override on Dec. 29, sources confirmed for Fox News.
The Senate will also need to achieve a two-thirds vote in favor of overriding the president. If successful this will be Congress’ first veto override during Trump’s presidency, as he prepares to leave office in less than one month.
The defense bill was approved by Congress with strong bipartisan support, passing in the House 335-78, and in the Senate 84-13 – making it likely Congress could override the president’s veto.
However, senators remain concerned that some GOP House members may choose not to counter the president’s decision.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has already said he would not vote in favor of overriding the veto, prompting one senator to tell Fox News that the consensus among senators on the chances of a successful House override is about 50-50.
Trump first promised to reject the defense bill earlier this month, after Congress omitted language on Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which the president has called “a serious threat to our National Security & Election Integrity.”
The president has long sought to take on “big tech,” which he believes is unfairly protected by Section 230 and therefore allows conservative bias on social media platforms.
Section 230 provides legal protection for technology companies from content produced by third parties or users on social media in particular.
“I will Veto the Defense Bill, which will make China very unhappy. They love it,” Trump tweeted Thursday. “Must have Section 230 termination, protect our National Monuments and allow for removal of military from far away, and very unappreciative, lands. Thank you!”
The Senate could face its own challenges in getting an override vote successfully though before Jan. 3, when the 117th Congress will take office.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., pushed to stop the bill from passing through the Senate earlier this month, when he contested a measure in the legislation that would prevent the president from being able to unilaterally withdraw troops from war zones.
Paul blamed Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., and called her a “neocon,” saying her philosophy was “substantiating war and making sure that it becomes and is perpetual war.”
“I’ve told them I’ll come back to try to prevent them from easily overriding the defense bill veto,” Paul told reporters, pledging to do his best to prevent a successful override vote, reported Politico.
But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has urged Trump not to veto the measure and said Tuesday that he and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., are crossing party lines to get this defense spending package passed together.
“The Democrat leader and I have agreed to unanimous request as follows: the Senate will meet for pro forma sessions only until Dec. 29 when we will return to session,” McConnell said, according to C-SPAN producer Craig Caplan.
“In the event the president has vetoed the bill and the House has voted to override the veto (Dec. 28), the Senate would have the opportunity to process the veto override at the time.”