House to pass defense bill without Big Tech proviso despite Trump veto threat
The House of Representatives is poised to pass a $740 billion defense bill on Tuesday despite President Trump’s veto threat, but it’s unclear if enough Republicans will break with the president to override his veto.
Trump threatened to veto the bill last week because it does not repeal Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a liability shield for Internet platforms that host third-party content, including social media companies.
Trump says companies like Twitter and Facebook should lose protection because they are politically biased publishers and not neutral forums.
Trump also opposes provisions in the bill that would rename 10 military bases that honor Confederate leaders, such as Fort Bragg in North Carolina.
The vote on the National Defense Authorization Act will be a test of Trump’s lame-duck influence over Republicans in Congress as some conservatives urge them to break ranks and vote for the bill.
Among those thumbing their nose at Trump is Texas Rep. Mac Thornberry, the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee.
“I’m hoping for a strong vote tomorrow. I think the stronger the vote, the less chance of having to deal with a veto later,” Thornberry said Monday
“I’m hopeful that a strong vote can persuade the White House that there’s a better approach to that issue so you’re not punishing the troops for something that is totally unrelated,” Thornberry said.
Two-thirds support in both chambers of Congress is required to override a veto, meaning a substantial number of Republicans would have to support the bill.
If the bill passes the House by a large margin, it still must pass the Republican-held Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will decide if it gets a vote.
Similar versions of the legislation previously passed the House and Senate this year, but the differences were reconciled in the current version.
Some Senate Republicans, including Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Josh Hawley of Missouri, support repealing Section 230 within the defense bill. Both senators cite Twitter and Facebook censoring The Post’s reporting in October on President-elect Joe Biden’s apparent links to his Hunter’s overseas business dealings.
Many Democrats, including Biden, also support revising or repealing Section 230.
But Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, opposes undoing the delicate deal that’s currently in place.
“It’s unfortunate that Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle disagree with the need for a full repeal — but, because of that, it is impossible to add a repeal of Section 230 to the defense authorization bill,” Inhofe said last week.
“The only other option would mean that for the first time in 60 years, we would not have an NDAA,” he said. “Without an NDAA, our troops would not get flight pay. They wouldn’t get hazard pay or any other specialty pay that requires annual authorization for our service members overseas get what they need.”