Both the House and Senate successfully voted to override President Donald Trump’s veto of the FY21 National Defense Authorization Act Conference Report.
The veto override passed in the House by a vote of 322 to 87, and the Senate by a vote of 81 to 13. The override marks the first veto override of Mr. Trump’s presidency.
“The President’s reckless veto put our national security at risk all to serve his own self-interest. Unlike the President, I actually served in the military, so I know how important this bill is to our country, our community, our veterans, and our servicemembers,” Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara, said in a statement. “With this overwhelming and bipartisan override vote in both chambers of Congress, we have once again proven that our military and our national security are more important than politics.”
The congressman served as a conferee for the NDAA, as he worked to resolve differences between the House and Senate NDAA bills so they could be consolidated into a single piece of legislation. It marked his second time serving as a conferee for the NDAA.
Rep. Carbajal’s spokeswoman, Mannal Haddad, said that the congressman worked to ensure “the final product reflects Central Coast values.”
The bill includes several “Central Coast Wins,” including: the Small Passenger Vessel Safety Act, which Rep. Carbajal introduced in the wake of the Conception boat fire. The bill directs the Coast Guard to implement safety reforms to small passenger vessels to prevent future disasters; protecting and promoting offshore wind development off the coast of Morro Bay. The bill directs the Secretary of the Navy to report to Congress on their progress working with the offshore wind working group to identify a region for offshore wind development; authorizing $18 million in research funds for military-university partnerships, aimed at assisting research for biomedical technology at UCSB and unmanned aerial vehicle research at Cal Poly; as well as a $5 million increase in funding for space launch range services and capabilities, including for Vandenberg Air Force Base.
Until Friday’s vote, Mr. Trump had been on track to be the first president since Lyndon Johnson with no vetoes overridden, according to the American Presidency Project at UCSB.
The $740 billion NDAA determines everything from how many ships are bought to soldiers’ pay and how to address geopolitical threats.
Mr. Trump refused to sign it into law because it included a provision stripping the names of Confederate generals from military bases. In addition, Mr. Trump had wanted lawmakers to undo Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act over his feud with Twitter and other social media companies. Section 230 provides legal protection for technology companies over content from third parties and users.
“We’ve passed this legislation 59 years in a row. And one way or another, we’re going to complete the 60th annual NDAA and pass it into law before this Congress concludes on Sunday,” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell had said ahead of the vote, according to Reuters.
Later on Friday, Mr. Trump tweeted about the Senate’s refusal to take up his call for more COVID-19 relief aid and to lift legal protections for social media platforms.
“Our Republican Senate just missed the opportunity to get rid of Section 230, which gives unlimited power to Big Tech companies. Pathetic!!! Now they want to give people ravaged by the China Virus $600, rather than the $2000 which they so desperately need. Not fair, or smart!” he wrote.
In his statement to the media, Rep. Carbajal cited the removal of Confederate names, displays, monuments and paraphernalia for Army bases as one of the “National Wins.”
Others included: the extension of paid parental leave to all federal employees, including transportation workers and VA employees; disability compensation and health care services for veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange and who are suffering from cancer and related diseases; provides servicemembers with a 3% pay raise; authorizes a Pacific Deterrence Initiative, a program to counter China’s influence in the Pacific by bolstering relationships with allies in the region and enhancing defense and deterrence capabilities in the region, while also enhancing the nation’s cybersecurity by establishing a National Cyber Director within the Executive Office of the President and strengthening the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency at the Department of Homeland Security.
“This provision is of special significance following the recent massive hacks of U.S. government agencies and private businesses, believed to be conducted by Russia,” Rep. Carbajal said.