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The U.S. Senate, with a Republican majority, took another step Wednesday to override President Donald Trump’s veto of the $741 billion annual defense budget bill.
With 80 votes in favor and 12 against, the Senate overcame a procedural step that was necessary to begin the debate to invalidate the presidential initiative, so that the final vote could take place on Friday, New Year’s Day, or Saturday.
The Democratic-dominated lower house already voted in favor of the initiative on Monday, and now all that remains is for the Senate to give the go-ahead.
These days, eyes are on Republican lawmakers to see if they support their President, or if, on the contrary, they remain true to themselves and defend the law they voted for just over two weeks ago.
First time in 59 years
This is the first time in 59 years that a president has opposed the approval of the defense budget.
Trump decided last week to veto the so-called National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2021 because, among other things, it restricts his ability to withdraw U.S. troops from Germany, South Korea and Afghanistan, as he had previously promised.
The president also wanted the legislation to include a clause to end the so-called “Section 230,” which protects Internet giants like Twitter and Facebook from any legal consequences for what third parties post on their websites.
The National Defense Authorization Act serves to fund the Pentagon’s operations abroad, and includes salary increases for soldiers, funds for new military equipment, and pay for the healthcare of the troops.