Shortly before the end of his term in office, Trump has a showdown with the House of Representatives. There, Democrats and Republicans overruled Trump’s veto on the defense budget.
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The US House of Representatives has overruled incumbent President Donald Trump’s veto on the defense budget. In a vote in the Congress Chamber on Monday (local time), the necessary two-thirds majority was achieved. Trump’s Republicans also opposed the president in large numbers in the vote. Should the US Senate also vote against Trump’s line in a next step, this would be the first time in his tenure that Congress would overturn a veto.
The president had refused to sign the legislative package on the defense budget because of a dispute over the regulation of online platforms and a possible renaming of military bases. It comprises more than 4,500 pages and has a budget of around 740 billion dollars (611 billion euros).
Withdrawal of US soldiers from Germany would be blocked by budget
Because the failure of the military budget to come about is politically unthinkable, the package, as usual, also deals with numerous regulations that actually have nothing to do with the financing of the armed forces. The defense budget was passed with bipartisan support for 59 consecutive years – as was the case this year in the Democratically controlled House of Representatives and in the Republican-dominated Senate.
Among other things, the draft stipulates that the massive withdrawal of US soldiers from Germany planned by Trump will be blocked for the time being. It states that the US Secretary of Defense must state in a report to Congress whether such a withdrawal would be in the national interest of the US. At the earliest 120 days later, the number of US soldiers stationed in the Federal Republic may fall below the limit of 34,500. The draft also provides for threatened sanctions against the German-Russian Baltic Sea pipeline Nord Stream 2 to be expanded.
Trump: Law contradicts his government’s foreign policy
MPs from both parties had campaigned in the chamber before the vote on Monday to continue supporting the bill despite Trump’s objections. “It’s exactly the same bill, not a comma was changed,” said Republican Mac Thornberry. Defense Committee Democratic Chairman Adam Smith went on to say that the House of Representatives had prioritized compromise and sound politics over “blind political loyalty”. Despite the president’s “dangerous attempts at sabotage”, the defense budget will come into effect, said House spokeswoman, Democrat Nancy Pelosi.
Trump vetoed the legislative package last Wednesday (December 23). In support of this, he stated in a letter to the House of Representatives that the law was contrary to his government’s foreign policy and national security. He stands up against the renaming of several military bases, which was pushed forward after protests against racism. He is also bothered by the fact that online platforms are not regulated more closely.
Trump had wanted Congress to change or even abolish the regulation known as “Section 230”, which protects online platforms from being held responsible for content published by their users. Trump called the ruling “a serious threat to the national security and integrity of the elections”. Critics, in turn, accuse Trump of only wanting revenge on Twitter and Facebook, as they had warned him about the corona crisis and alleged fraud in the presidential election.
It is Trump’s eighth veto on bills
Regarding the plans to legally limit the withdrawal of soldiers from Afghanistan, South Korea and Germany, which he ordered, Trump wrote that this was not only bad policy, but also unconstitutional. According to the constitution, the president is commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The decision as to how many soldiers should be deployed where is therefore his.
Trump lost the presidential election on November 3rd against the Democrat Joe Biden. Trump refuses to admit defeat. Biden is to be sworn in on January 20th. Until then, Trump is still in office with all rights.
During his four-year term in office, Trump had vetoed legislative plans from Congress eight times. In none of these cases, however, had the necessary two-thirds majority been achieved in the parliamentary chambers to override his veto. In general, the Congress very rarely disregards vetoes. According to the Senate, this has only happened 111 times since 1789 – with more than 1,500 vetoes that a president had lodged against bills.
A vote in the Senate on the defense budget could be delayed until the end of the week due to the dispute over direct aid in the corona pandemic. Senator Bernie Sanders announced on Twitter that he would block the vote until the Senate votes on raising payments to citizens from $ 600 to $ 2000 per capita. The US House of Representatives voted on Monday for a corresponding move. Many Republicans are against a more generous Corona stimulus package.