House to vote on defense bill as Trump urges GOP to oppose it #Breaking112
On Tuesday morning, the President urged House Republicans to oppose the bill just hours ahead of a scheduled vote, saying, “I hope House Republicans will vote against the very weak National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which I will VETO.”
Trump’s threat to veto the annual defense bill unless Congress removes legal protections for social media companies has drawn swift and sharp bipartisan pushback from lawmakers who have argued that Trump is using leverage over the troops to settle personal scores.
The threat has left Republicans split over the issue, even dividing top House Republicans.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said on Tuesday that he would not vote to override a veto of the legislation, saying, “I don’t believe Republicans, in our work with the President always, that you vote to override a veto.”
In contrast, Rep. Liz Cheney, a member of House GOP leadership, called on Monday for Trump not to veto the bill. “We ought to pass the NDAA and the President should not veto it. And we should override it,” she told CNN.
The conservative House Freedom Caucus announced on Tuesday that its members will side with Trump in his opposition to the legislation and they are pressuring other House Republicans to side with Trump, a move that could make it harder to override a veto.
Multiple House lawmakers, including the top Democrat and Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, however, have said they will cut their holiday short if necessary for Congress to return to Washington to override a veto.
The House needs to reach at least two-thirds of those representatives present in the chamber to vote for the legislation to get a veto-proof majority on the defense authorization bill, according to leadership aides, though that specific number is unclear given the possibility for absences.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, said on Tuesday that he believes the House will pass the bill, but sounded a note of uncertainty, saying, “I don’t know about that today” when asked if the bill would pass with a veto-proof majority.
However, Hoyer did say that should the President veto the bill, he believes the House will vote to override it. “I think we can override a veto, if in fact he vetoes. I hope he does not veto. I hope he reconsiders,” he said.
If Trump successfully vetoes the NDAA it would impact “special pay” for thousands of US service members across the military branches. Special pay includes raises for service members in highly-skilled positions where there is a lot of competition with the private sector for personnel.
Once the bill passes the House, it will next go to the Senate, where a similar question looms about whether it can win a veto-proof majority, though many Republican senators have signaled they would vote to override.
Trump has received vocal support, however, in the upper chamber from some allies.
In a series of tweets on Friday, GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham, an ally of the President’s, backed the President on his push to remove Section 230.
“I support President @realDonaldTrump’s insistence Section 230 repeal be part of the defense authorization bill,” he wrote in at three-tweet thread. “Big Tech is the only industry in America that cannot be sued for their business practices and are not meaningfully regulated. This must come to an end.”
CNN’s Kristin Wilson and Daniella Diaz contributed to this report.