Trump Says He’ll Veto the Defense Authorization Bill over Exclusion of Section 230 Termination

US President Donald Trump addresses the nation from the Oval Office about the widening Coronavirus crisis on March 11, in Washington, DC. Doug Mills/New York Times/Pool/Getty Image
Doug Mills/New York Times/Pool/Getty Images

President Donald Trump said he will veto the annual defense authorization bill over its exclusion of provisions that terminate Section 230, which grants Big Tech companies such as Twitter and Facebook special immunity from lawsuits.

He tweeted late Thursday: “Very sadly for our Nation, it looks like Senator @JimInhofe will not be putting the Section 230 termination clause into the Defense Bill. So bad for our National Security and Election Integrity. Last chance to ever get it done. I will VETO!”

The 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is an annual bill that authorizes the activities and spending for the Department of Defense (DOD) and other defense-related activities and spending. It is considered “must pass” legislation and has been passed for 59 consecutive years.

It is common for presidents to threaten to veto the bill, which authorizes hundreds of billions of dollars every year in defense spending and spans thousands of pages that authorizes all sorts of provisions sought by members of Congress.

For example, former President Barack Obama typically threatened to veto the NDAA during his administration since it would contain provisions to prevent the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention facilities, and even vetoed the bill in 2015.

Trump has also threatened to veto the bill if it contained a Democrat-pushed provision to rename military bases named after Confederate leaders, such as Fort Bragg.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-OK) had assured the president the provision would not make it into the final bill text that is hashed out between the House and Senate, but the version unveiled this week contains provisions requiring the renaming in three years of the bases, as well as anything else with “names, symbols, displays, monuments, and paraphernalia that honor or commemorate the Confederate States of America.”

During a call with congressional staffers on Thursday, they declined to discuss if a veto was likely, but said it could force Congress to start from scratch next year on the bill.

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