The Senate passed a federal defense spending bill Friday, officially sending the legislation to President Donald Trump’s desk.
The bill is unlikely to become law without first returning to Congress, since Trump has repeatedly said that he would veto any defense bill which does terminate Section 230, a 1990s clause that shields social media companies from responsibility over content that appears on their platforms.
Despite Trump’s promise to veto the bill, which authorizes a 3% pay raise for U.S. troops and removes the names of military bases named after Confederate figures, it appears to have enough congressional support to become law. The Senate passed the bill 84 to 13, and the House of Representatives passed it 335-78 on Wednesday.
Both margins are greater than the two-thirds majority necessary to override a presidential veto, and if passed it would be the first time congress has overridden a Trump veto since he became president.
Section 230, which is a liability shielding gift from the U.S. to “Big Tech” (the only companies in America that have it – corporate welfare!), is a serious threat to our National Security & Election Integrity. Our Country can never be safe & secure if we allow it to stand…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 2, 2020
Despite Trump’s opposition, lawmakers in both parties touted the bill and said that they expected it to become law.
Washington Democratic Rep. Adam Smith, who chairs the House Armed Services Committee, said the bill sent a “strong, bipartisan message to the American people” when his chamber passed it Wednesday. “Our service members and national security are more important than politics,” he said.
His comments were echoed by Republican Rep. Paul Mitchell, who said that the “bipartisan vote affirms the importance of the NDAA for our military personnel and national security.”
Some worried that the defense bill would not be passed Friday after Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul objected over a provision that made it harder for Trump to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan. His objections prompted widespread pushback from his fellow lawmakers, including some in Republican leadership.
The Senate also hopes to pass a stopgap budget bill Friday, which would fund the government through Dec. 18. Current government funding expires Saturday at midnight, and lawmakers hope that the extra week will give Congress more time to pass a long-term appropriations bill and a stimulus package to mitigate the economic hardships brought by the coronavirus pandemic.