House passes massive defense policy bill by veto-proof majority

by
The overwhelming vote is more than the two-thirds majority needed to thwart a presidential veto.

WASHINGTON — The House on Dec. 8 voted 335-78 to pass the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, adopting the compromise defense policy bill by a large enough margin to override a presidential veto.

The Senate is expected to give final passage to the NDAA this week and send it President Donald Trump, who threatened veto the 4,500-page bill because it does not strip social media companies of longstanding legal protections.

The NDAA passed the House with more than the two-thirds majority lawmakers would need to override a presidential veto.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) said the vote sends a “strong, bipartisan message to the American people: Our service members and our national security are more important than politics.”

Smith said he is confident there is enough support in the House and the Senate to override a potential veto so the NDAA can be passed before the lame-duck session of the 116th Congress ends Jan. 2.

The White House in a statement of administration policy issued Dec. 8 said the president will veto the NDAA because it does not repeal Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Act, which shields online companies from legal liability for content posted by users. Trump also objects to provisions to rename military bases that honor Confederate officers, and opposes language that restricts his power to use military construction money for other projects. 

The bill includes several provisions related to national security space and the U.S. Space Force. Congress established the U.S. Space Force in the 2020 NDAA. Todd Harrison, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the 2021 defense bill provides “continuity” for the newest branch of the military. Last year’s bill set the foundation, for example, by allowing members of the U.S. Air Force to transfer to the Space Force. The 2021 NDAA authorizes the transfer of members of any of the other U.S. armed services to the Space Force.