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Senate follows House in overturning Donald Trump’s veto on major defense bill – Deadline

UPDATE, 2:03 p.m .: The Senate today followed the House of Representatives in overturning Donald Trump’s veto on the National Defense Authorization Act, giving the outgoing president a bipartisan New Year’s rebuke.

Following Monday’s House vote, the Upper House voted 81 to 13 to overturn the veto, with far more than the two-thirds majority needed to do so. Read the details of the legislation and its potential impact below.

PREVIOUS, December 23: Donald Trump has followed through on a veto threat on a major $ 740 billion defense bill, in part because he does not repeal a key law that shields social media platforms from liability for the way which they moderate the content of third parties.

Trump’s rejection of the law was anticipated, with Congress planning to return next week to take a possible vote to overturn the veto. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would meet on Monday to vote on the waiver.

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But his veto was indicative of the year-end chaos that gripped Washington as the president faces his final 27 days in office. Trump released a video statement on Tuesday denouncing separate legislation, a massive $ 2.3 trillion Covid-19 relief bill and a government spending program. He did not explicitly say he would veto this bill, but called on lawmakers to increase his direct payments to Americans to $ 2,000 per person, from $ 600 per person adopted.

In a statement released by the White House, Trump criticized the defense bill for failing to “make significant changes” to Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act “despite bipartite calls for the repeal of this provision ”.

“Section 230 facilitates the spread of foreign disinformation online, which poses a serious threat to national security and electoral integrity,” Trump said in the statement. “It must be repealed.”

This is largely the argument of Democrats who want to see major changes to Section 230, which was put in place in 1996 when the internet was in its infancy. Technology platforms say this has enabled innovation and rapid growth, as companies would otherwise face an overwhelming number of disputes over third-party content posted on their sites. The likes of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are often criticized for leaving certain third-party content in place or removing other types of content, but Section 230 prevents platforms from being sued for their decisions.

Trump has in the past claimed that social media platforms are biased against conservative views, and called for the repeal or modification of Section 230 to remove legal protections on the way Facebook and Twitter moderate third party content. After Twitter began fact-checking some of the president’s tweets last spring, it issued an executive order on Section 230, launching an effort to change it through the executive branch and the FCC.

But that now seems unlikely. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai released the provisional agenda for his January meeting on Wednesday and it does not include any votes on the provision. Pai leaves the FCC on Jan.20, after which the commission will be deadlocked 2-2 among Democrats and Republicans. Joe Biden may appoint a fifth commissioner to give Democrats a majority, but it’s unclear how quickly that will happen.

Trump also opposed the defense bill because it would demand the name change of some military bases, including those named for Confederate generals. “Over the course of American history, these places have grown in importance to American history and those who helped write it that far transcends their namesakes,” Trump said.

In a statement, Pelosi said: “At a time when our country was just the target of a massive cyber attack, it is particularly difficult to understand the reasoning behind the president’s irresponsibility. Disturbingly, Trump is using his last hours of office to wreak havoc, including denying our service members a late pay raise and risk pay; our families paid for family leave, child care, housing and health protection; and our veterans the benefits they need and deserve.

Trump left the White House Wednesday afternoon to spend the vacation at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, where he is expected to stay until the end of the New Year.

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