The U.S. Senate on Friday voted to override U.S. President Donald Trump’s veto of the National Defense Authorisation Act (NDAA), a major national security bill worth 740 billion dollars.
The vote marked the first veto override of the Trump presidency and is widely viewed as a sharp rebuke of the president during his final days in office.
The Senate needed a two-thirds majority to override the veto, which it obtained by a wide margin, with 81 senators voting in favour of the override and only 13 against.
The NDAA, which sets the policy for the U.S. Department of Defense, has passed every year since the 1960s.
Both chambers of Congress approved this year’s bill with large majorities. Trump, however, vetoed the bill over a plan to rename military bases that are named after leaders of the Confederacy, the alliance of pro-slavery southern states during the Civil War.
He also called for the bill to strip social media companies of some liability protections and objected to language that would slow-walk his plans to reduce the number of U.S. troops in places like Afghanistan and Germany.
The debate over whether to override the veto pitted Trump against members of his own party and some of his staunchest allies in the Senate.
Speaking from the Senate floor, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell said that the passage of the bill is a serious responsibility and “a tremendous opportunity to direct our national security priorities to reflect the resolve of the American people and the evolving threats to their safety, at home and abroad.”
Senator Jack Reed, a Democrat, called the vote a bipartisan rebuke of the president.
“Trump tried to make this vote a loyalty test and an overwhelming majority of U.S. Senators demonstrated their loyalty is to the common defense and to the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces who help defend our nation,” Reed wrote on Twitter. (dpa/NAN)