Senate passes $740 billion defense bill as Trump veto threat looms

An F-35B Lightning II fighter aircraft with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 265 (Reinforced), 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), prepares to take off from the flight deck of amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) prior to a strike exercise of an inflatable maritime target.Lance Cpl. Joshua Brittenham | US Marine Corps | FlickrCCWASHINGTON — The Senate approved a colossal defense policy bill Friday despite multiple threats from President Donald Trump that he would veto the measure.At least 75 members of the Republican-led Senate voted for the sweeping $740 billion annual defense bill, a number larger than the two-thirds majority that would be needed to defeat Trump’s promised veto.With the weight of the House and the Senate behind the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, the bill breezes from Congress to Trump’s desk with overwhelming support.The NDAA, which typically passes with strong bipartisan support and veto-proof majorities, authorizes a topline of $740 billion in spending and outlines Pentagon policy.Earlier this month, Trump threatened to veto the must-pass defense bill if lawmakers do not include a measure eliminating legal protections for social media companies.Trump is calling for the repeal of a federal law, known as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects tech giants like Facebook and Twitter from being held legally liable for what is posted on their platforms.Last week, Trump referred to the provision as a “liability shielding gift” to “Big Tech” and called for it to be “completely terminated” otherwise he would nix this year’s NDAA.The president also said the measure posed a serious threat to U.S. national security as well as election integrity but did not give any further explanatory details. Trump has also said that Twitter, his social media platform of choice, has unfairly censored him.The president’s issue with Section 230 came to light this summer after Twitter added warning labels to several of his tweets that alleged mail-in voting is fraudulent. Trump has still not conceded the U.S. presidential election to Democrat Joe Biden.U.S. President Donald Trump speaks following the ceremonial swearing-in of James Mattis as secretary of defense on January 27, 2017, at the Pentagon in Washington, DC.Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty ImagesThis year’s legislation includes a 3% pay raise for U.S. troops, a plan to rename military installations bearing names of Confederate leaders as well as a slew of other provisions.The NDAA, in its current form, does not include any measure in relation to Section 230.This is not the first time the president has targeted the NDAA. Earlier this year, Trump said he would veto the measure if it included language on changing U.S. military installations named after Confederate generals.

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