President Trump Vetoes NDAA Bill - Now What?
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President Trump Vetoes NDAA Bill - Now What?

President Trump Vetoes NDAA Bill - Now What?

On December 23, 2020, President Donald J. Trump vetoed the defense spending bill, after previously tweeting threats to do just that. Wednesday marked the deadline to veto the $740.5 billion National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 6395) before it became law.

The bill was presented to the president on December 11. Subsequently, President Trump threatened to veto the bill over the aforementioned renaming of military bases that honor Confederate officers, and also demanded the repeal of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act as part of the bill

According to the White House press release, President Trump said: "I am returning, without my approval, H.R. 6395, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (the “Act”). My Administration recognizes the importance of the Act to our national security. Unfortunately, the Act fails to include critical national security measures, includes provisions that fail to respect our veterans and our military’s history, and contradicts efforts by my Administration to put America first in our national security and foreign policy actions. It is a “gift” to China and Russia." He further added; "The Act fails even to make any meaningful changes to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, despite bipartisan calls for repealing that provision.  Section 230 facilitates the spread of foreign disinformation online, which is a serious threat to our national security and election integrity.  It must be repealed."


  • Introduced in House on March 26, 2020, by Rep. Adam Smith [D-WA-9]
  • The House of Representatives passed its version of the bill with a veto-proof 295–125 vote on July 21, 2020. Two days later, the Senate passed its version of the bill (S. 4049) 86–14. 
  • The final/revised version of the bill was passed by the House on December 8 (veto-proof 355-78 vote) - which included broad support from the vast majority of House Republicans., and the Senate on December 11, 2020 (84-13 vote). 
  • On December 23, President Donald Trump vetoed the bill.


Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued this statement on the President’s veto of the bipartisan, bicameral National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA): "The President’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act is an act of staggering recklessness that harms our troops, endangers our security and undermines the will of the bipartisan Congress. For 60 years, the NDAA has been passed on a bipartisan and bicameral basis."

The head of the nation's largest veterans' organization called for Congress to override the president's veto of the National Defense Authorization Act. "The American Legion is disappointed that the president vetoed this important legislation, which would benefit our current service members and veterans of previous generations," James W. "Bill" Oxford, national commander of The American Legion said. "The NDAA passed with overwhelming support because Democrats and Republicans agree that it is good for America. The virtues of the NDAA have not changed since the president's veto. We ask Congress to use the powers granted to it by the U.S. Constitution and override the president's veto. Our troops deserve a pay raise and our Vietnam veterans continue to suffer the ill-effects of Agent Orange. The NDAA addresses these issues and much more."

The powerful Aerospace Industries Association, the single largest advocate for the defense industry, was unequivocal in its reaction to the veto: “There is no more essential duty for the American government than to ensure the safety and security of its people. The President’s veto undermines our national security preparedness and jeopardizes the jobs of Americans who make up our defense industrial base at a time when the country is in crisis. It is also a letdown for our troops and their families, both of who selflessly continue to serve our country. We urge Congress to prioritize national security and override this veto,” said a statement by AIA President & CEO Eric Fanning.

Now What?

The House plans to convene on Monday (December 28) to override the president’s exercise of veto powers, an effort that would require a two-thirds majority in both houses of Congress. 

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