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McConnell’s Tug of War with the Democrats

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Republican Senator from Kentucky, Mitch McConnell, reinforces his opposition and that of the Senate majority to the approval of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDDA) promoted by the Democratic Party and vetoed by President Donald Trump.

The NDDA includes in its measures an increase in the salary of American soldiers by 3%. In addition, the Wall Street Journal reports that it “includes elements related to anti-money laundering efforts, cybersecurity, military commitments abroad, the Space Force and the border wall.”

President Trump’s veto comes from his opposition to the bill’s provisions that would remove the names of Confederate leaders from military bases and restrict the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan and Europe – the latter being one of his most important proposals during his 2016 presidential campaign.

The Chairman of the Armed Services Committee in Congress, Adam Smith (D-WA), said that “the President vetoed the bill for something that is not in the bill and was never going to be in the bill, something totally alien to national security.”

Trump first threatened to veto the NDDA after the Senate Armed Services Committee adopted an amendment from Senator Elizabeth Warren to force name changes within three years because they honored the Confederates. The House did the same with a provision to change the bases’ name within one year, and a compromise bill included Warren’s provision.

President Trump insisted on his veto after negotiations between the House and Senate had already advanced unless lawmakers repealed the online liability protections known as Section 230. This is where McConnell comes in as a pivotal figure in this Tug of War.

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McConnell answered with a bill of his own that includes President Trump’s demands. (Photo: Flickr)

McConnell against the Democrat trap

McConnell did block the vote on the House bill but responded with a bill of his own that includes President Trump’s demands: increases in direct payments, repeal of Section 230, and the establishment of an election fraud commission.

Politico reports: “For now, McConnell is prioritizing action to override Trump’s veto of a defense bill, which could take place after New Year’s Day if Senator Bernie Sanders continues to place procedural obstacles until he gets a vote on $2,000 checks.”

This means that Senator McConnell is willing to override President Trump’s veto, redirecting his requests to a new bill that increases direct payments to $2,000, limiting legal protections for technology companies, and setting up a commission to work on the integrity of the November 3rd election all come together. In this way, while McConnell could compromise on the defense bill, this new law he has drafted would meet both sides’ demands: both the passage of the NDDA with bipartisan support and the advancement of the President’s demands.

It is no secret that Republicans have a diversity of views, McConnell said at a press conference, on the wisdom of borrowing hundreds of billions more to send more untargeted money, even to many households that have not lost income during the crisis. “COVID-19 has not affected all households equally,” the senator continued.

In this regard, McConnell is formulating what he said about President Trump’s demands to make payments to Americans efficiently. So far, he has not revealed his strategy, and in the coming days, the country will know what the Senator’s plan is.

Rafael Valera, Venezuelan, student of Political Science, political exile in São Paulo, Brazil since 2017 // Rafael Valera, venezolano, es estudiante de Ciencias Políticas y exiliado político en São Paulo, Brasil desde 2017

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