Dhe result on Monday evening could hardly have been clearer: With 332 to 87 votes, the US House of Representatives rejects Donald Trump’s objection to the defense budget. A two-thirds majority was required. But in the end just under four out of five MPs vote against the incumbent president’s veto. Among them a clear majority of Republicans. The overriding of a Trump veto was a first. It is a bitter defeat for the elected president three weeks before the end of his term in office.
But the last word has not yet been spoken. The Senate will also vote on the veto, here too a two-thirds majority is required. It is expected that the second chamber of Congress will also outvote the incumbent president. That would also be a first. For the Republicans, the vote is extremely delicate and inconvenient. Because: Anyone who wants the budget of 740 billion dollars (about 610 billion euros) to come into effect must break with Trump on this issue. Traditionally, the powerful windfall for the Pentagon is passed in a non-partisan way. A presidential veto is unusual.
Three weeks ago, 43 of the 52 Republican senators had voted for the defense budget. Do you now stand by your vote and stand against Trump? Or do they loyally follow the Lame Duck President, revoke their own decision and alienate the military? The vote for the two Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, who are due to have a runoff election in Georgia in a week, is particularly spicy. Loeffler praises herself by saying that she always voted “100 percent” in the spirit of Trump. And now?
Trump has never built a resilient relationship with the military beyond rhetoric. Neither he nor his sons served in the army. With his veto, he wants, among other things, to prevent military institutions from losing their names after prominent Confederates from the American Civil War.
Trump also called the law on the budget a “gift for China and Russia”. Trump is also angry because it is blocking the withdrawal of US soldiers from Germany that he has announced for the time being.
Noteworthy: In the House of Representatives debate just before the vote, Republican Mac Thornberry fervently defended the law, opposing Trump. “Our soldiers, the country and the world are watching to see what we will do – whether we can block out differences and still come together to support the men and women of the military and American national security,” Thornberry said. The Republican parliamentary group leadership refrained from letting an MP with the opposite position of the president speak immediately before the vote.
But Trump is making his own party even more uncomfortable about another matter. After the House of Representatives accepted its proposal of a one-off payment in the Corona aid package of $ 2,000 instead of $ 600 for almost every American, the ball is in the Senate’s field.
The vote on Monday was a power-political masterpiece by the Democrats and their spokeswoman in the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi. She had taken up Trump’s sudden $ 2,000 idea, knowing full well that most Republicans would not like this boon. Some of them thought the $ 600 check that Congress negotiated with Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was socialist devil stuff.
The Republicans’ discomfort with the $ 2,000 check that every adult who earns less than $ 75,000 a year is supposed to receive became abundantly clear on Monday in the Capitol: Only 44 Republicans voted for Trump’s idea, 130 voted against it. But since 231 Democrats voted yes (and only two no), it was just enough for the required two-thirds majority.
In the debate leading up to the vote, Republican Kevin Brady had taken a stand against Trump’s move. The $ 2,000 injection will cost half a trillion dollars. Brady argued that it was also not on target. During the months of negotiations on the Coronavirus aid package, Republicans were meticulous to ensure that it cost no more than a trillion dollars. The end result was a sum of 900 billion dollars (about 730 billion euros). The republicans rhetorically invoke a lean state, little government intervention, and self-responsibility of the citizens.
But Trump has long since broken with the fiscal conservatism of the Grand Old Party. Even before the Corona crisis, he was an enormous debt maker – and that in the midst of a good economy. Does anyone remember Trump’s election promise from 2016 that he would reduce all national debt in eight years? Meanwhile, the national debt rose under Trump’s presidency to over $ 27 trillion, over 100 percent of economic output – a record.
When the Senate would vote on the 2,000 dollar check was initially unclear on Tuesday night. The Republicans have a majority in the Senate, they set the agenda. Your majority leader Mitch McConnell has so far remained silent on Trump’s renewed spending mood. Such a vote in the next few days would be extremely inconvenient for the two Senators Loeffler and Perdue, who are campaigning in Georgia.
The two multimillionaires present themselves as fiscally conservative on the one hand, and as unconditional supporters of Trump on the other. Whichever way you vote, your votes could alienate (regular) voters in Georgia. Loeffler’s challenger, the Democrat Raphael Warnock, recently etched on Twitter: If Loeffler praised himself for having “100 percent” supported Trump’s plans in the Senate, “why doesn’t she support the $ 2,000 aid checks?”
And what does Trump say about all of this? The incumbent president has been at his property in Mar-a-Lago (Florida) since December 23 and initially did not comment on the two votes in the House of Representatives. Trump had already played golf on Christmas Day, and he did so on Monday. He left his property at 9.22 a.m. and drove to Trump International Golf Course, where he stayed until 2:07 p.m.
In the late afternoon, Trump tweeted a flagrant autocrat-style video suggesting he had received the Nobel Peace Prize – a clear case of fake news. He also spread misinformation about the November 3 presidential election, in which he was defeated by Democrat Joe Biden.
It was not until Sunday evening that Trump signed the non-partisan corona aid package after a blockade that had lasted for days.
However, he renounced a solemn ceremony of his signature. He was the only one who announced “good news” on Twitter, along with a hint that further information would follow. Over 24 hours later, Trump had not yet fulfilled that promise. His term of office will end on January 20, 2021.