US Congress overrides Trump’s veto for the first time
| Reading time: 3 minutes
Shortly before the end of his term in office, US President Donald Trump is experiencing a premiere that he would have gladly waived: Congress ensures that the legislative package on the defense budget can come into force despite his veto.
EFor the first time during Donald Trump’s tenure, the US Congress overturned a presidential veto. After the House of Representatives, the Senate also overruled Trump’s veto on the US defense budget package with the necessary two-thirds majority on Friday. The massive legislative package can now come into force despite the missing Trump signature.
The president had resisted the draft law because of a dispute over the regulation of online platforms and a possible renaming of military bases. Now, shortly before the end of his term in office on January 20, he suffered a severe defeat in Congress, where large numbers of his Republicans opposed him on this issue. 81 senators voted for the legislative package (13 against) – and successfully overturned Trump’s veto. The two-thirds majority in the chamber was comfortably exceeded.
The legislative package on the defense budget comprises more than 4,500 pages and provides for a budget of around 740 billion dollars (611 billion euros). Because it is politically unthinkable that the military budget does not materialize, the package in the USA usually includes numerous regulations that are not directly related to the financing of the armed forces. The defense budget was passed with bipartisan support for 59 years in a row – this year too.
According to Trump, the law is contrary to his administration’s foreign policy and national security
The Democrats and Republicans have stipulated that the massive withdrawal of US soldiers from Germany planned by Trump will be blocked for the time being. The text of the law states that the US Secretary of Defense must state in a report to Congress whether such a withdrawal would be in the national interest of the US. At the earliest 120 days later, the number of US soldiers stationed in the Federal Republic may fall below the limit of 34,500. The law also provides that threatened sanctions against the German-Russian Baltic Sea pipeline Nord Stream 2 will be expanded.
Trump had vetoed the Congress decision. To justify this, he stated in a letter to the House of Representatives that the law was contrary to his government’s foreign policy and national security.
Among other things, the President criticized the fact that online platforms were not being more strictly regulated. He had wanted Congress to change what is known as Section 230, which protects online platforms from being held responsible for content published by their users. Trump called the ruling “a serious threat to national security and the integrity of the elections”. Critics, in turn, accuse Trump of only wanting revenge on Twitter and Facebook. In addition, Trump is a thorn in the side of the renaming of several military bases after protests against racism.
The Democrats have a majority in the House of Representatives
Trump considers it unconstitutional that the withdrawal of soldiers from Afghanistan, South Korea and Germany ordered by him should now be limited by law. According to the constitution, the president is the commander in chief of the armed forces, he said. The decision as to how many soldiers should be deployed where is therefore his.
During his four-year term in office, Trump had vetoed legislative plans from Congress eight times. In none of these cases, however, had the necessary two-thirds majority been achieved in the parliamentary chambers to override his veto. The Democrats have a majority in the House of Representatives and the Republicans have a majority in the Senate.
Trump lost the presidential election on November 3rd against the Democrat Joe Biden. Trump refuses to admit defeat. Biden is due to be sworn in on January 20th. Until then, Trump is still in office with all rights.