President Donald Trump lambasted congressional Republicans a day after the House voted to override his veto of a defense policy bill.
A total of 109 Republicans joined with Democrats on Monday to approve the override, the first of Trump’s presidency. The Senate is expected to consider the measure later this week.
Trump on Tuesday slammed GOP lawmakers on Twitter, saying that “Weak and tired Republican ‘leadership’ will allow the bad Defense Bill to pass.″
Trump called the override vote a “disgraceful act of cowardice and total submission by weak people to Big Tech.″
….being removed and brought home from foreign lands who do NOTHING for us. 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!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 29, 2020
The 322-87 vote in the House sends the override effort to the Senate, where the exact timing of a vote is uncertain.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants a vote as soon as Wednesday, but Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders objected to moving ahead until McConnell allows a vote on a Trump-backed plan to increase coronavirus relief payments to $2,000.
“Let me be clear: If Sen. 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 Year’s Eve,” Sanders said. “Let’s do our job.”
McConnell said Tuesday that approval of the $740 billion National Defense Authorization Act is crucial to the nation’s defense and to deterring “rivals like China and Russia.”
The bill “will cement our advantage on the seas, on land, in the air, in cyberspace and in space,” McConnell said.
The bill provides a 3 percent pay raise for U.S. troops, improvements for military housing, child care and more, McConnell said.
“For the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces, failure is not an option. So when it is our turn in Congress to have their backs, failure is not an option here either,” he said.
Trump rejected the defense measure last week, saying it failed to limit protections for social media companies. Trump also opposes provisions allowing for the renaming of military bases that honor Confederate leaders.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said after the House vote that lawmakers had ensured the NDAA becomes law “despite the president’s dangerous sabotage efforts.”
Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he was “disappointed” with Trump’s veto and called the bill “absolutely vital to our national security and our troops.”
“This is the most important bill we have,” Inhofe said Tuesday on the Senate floor. “It puts members of the military first.”
Besides social media and military base names, Trump also said the defense bill restricts his ability to conduct foreign policy, “particularly my efforts to bring our troops home.”
Trump was referring to provisions in the bill that impose conditions on his plan to withdraw thousands of troops from Afghanistan and Germany. The measures require the Pentagon to submit reports certifying that the proposed withdrawals would not jeopardize U.S. national security.
The House veto override was supported by 212 Democrats, 109 Republicans and an independent. Twenty Democrats opposed the override, along with 66 Republicans and an independent.
The Senate approved the bill 84-13 earlier this month, well above the margin needed to override a presidential veto.
Trump has vetoed eight other bills, all of which were sustained.
The defense bill guides Pentagon policy and decisions about troop levels, new weapons systems and military readiness, personnel and other goals.