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Trump vetoes defense bill, setting up congressional override

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US President Donald Trump walks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020. (Photo by AP)

US President Donald Trump has vetoed the National Defense Authorization Act, a $741 billion national security package, paving the way for what could be the only veto override of his presidency.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Trump mentioned the lawmakers' refusal to repeal Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a 1996 law that provides a legal shield to tech companies like Twitter, and forcing the renaming of military bases named after the Confederate leaders as the main reasons behind his decision.

"I am returning, without my approval, H.R. 6395 ... My Administration recognizes the importance of the Act to our national security. Unfortunately, the Act fails to include critical national security measures, includes provisions that fail to respect our veterans and our military's history, and contradicts efforts by my Administration to put America first in our national security and foreign policy actions,” the president wrote.

He finally called the bill as a “gift to Russia and China.”

The National Defense Authorization Act was approved by the both chambers of the Congress earlier this month after gaining more than two-thirds of votes needed to override a veto.

The House has already scheduled to meet on Monday to override the defense bill veto, while the Senate is scheduled to follow suit on Tuesday.

The veto message by Trump came after he threatened to torpedo Congress' massive COVID-19 relief package.

In a video tweeted on Tuesday night, the Republican president suggested that he may not sign the bipartisan $900 billion bill, a threat that would lead to a federal government shutdown.

Trump believes that the direct payments should increase from $600 to $2,000 for individuals and $4,000 for couples.

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