US defense budget: Congress rejects veto of Donald Trump for the first time in his term
The US Congress has inflicted an unprecedented disavowal on Donald Trump by bypassing his veto on the defense budget by a very large majority. Yet controlled by the Republicans, the Senate adopted, with 81 votes for and 13 against, this budget of $ 740 billion despite “the president’s objections” during an exceptional session on January 1st. As the House of Representatives had done the same on Monday, the text is definitively adopted.
The majority of Republican elected officials joined the Democrats, defying their leader at the twilight of his mandate, when he has always prided himself on their support. In four years in the White House, Donald Trump has used his veto power nine times against bills passed in both chambers. Until now, Congress has never managed to achieve the two-thirds majority necessary to override it.
This slap comes as more and more elected officials from his party recognize his defeat in the November 3 presidential election, which he still does not concede himself. Stung, the billionaire had denounced earlier this week a “weak and tired Republican leadership”. Leader of the Republican Senators Mitch McConnell had not given in, calling on his troops to vote for the 2021 defense budget. “It’s about ensuring that we stay in the race against our competitors like Russia and China.”, he pleaded at the opening of the debates.
The result of long negotiations, the text notably provides for a 3% increase in the salaries of Defense personnel. As has been customary for more than half a century, it was adopted in early December by overwhelming majorities in the Democratic-majority House and the Republican-controlled Senate. But Donald Trump announced on December 23 that he was vetoing it, causing consternation even in his camp.
He considered the text too favorable to China and protested against the possibility of renaming military bases honoring Confederate generals who fought in defense of slavery during the Civil War (1861-1865). He also criticized him for not including the abolition of a law, known as “article 230”, protecting the legal status of social networks, which he accuses of being biased against him.