House votes to override Trump's NDAA veto

The Senate is set to vote again on the annual defense bill on Tuesday. With less than a month remaining in his presidency, Donald Trump is looking at his first-ever override.

US Congress House side Shutterstock photo ID: 156615524 By mdgn editorial use only

The U.S. House of Representatives voted to override a veto from President Donald Trump and pass the annual defense authorization bill.

The Dec. 28 vote was 322-87. A two-thirds majority is required to override a presidential veto.

The Senate is expected to hold its vote to override or sustain the NDAA veto on Dec. 29.

Leaders from the House Armed Services Committee took to the floor ahead of the vote, urging for a second passage of the bill. No one spoke to uphold the veto.

"It's the exact same bill; not a comma has changed," said Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), the committee ranking member, on the House floor.

Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), committee chairman, called the $740 billion bill an "incredibly strong piece of legislation."

"The president has a right to veto it. But I think we as members of the legislative body have to look at the reasons behind that. Was it because of something in the bill?" Smith said. "That's not what happened here. The president vetoed this because of something that isn't in the bill and was never going to be in the bill."

Smith harped on the need for the 2021 NDAA's cyber provisions that would directly affect national security, especially in light of recent cybersecurity attacks that affected federal government systems "to better address these cyber issues we are now facing."

The House previously passed the bill 335-78. The Senate previously passed the bill on an 84-13 vote.

This was Trump's first veto of the defense bill, which is traditionally regarded as must-pass legislation. The bill has been signed into law by the close of the calendar year for 59 straight years. If the Senate joins the House in voting to override, it will be the first time in Trump's presidency that his veto was reversed. 

The president has been raising objections to the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act for months, expressing displeasure with provisions that call for the renaming of military bases named for Confederate leaders. More recently, Trump urged lawmakers to include a repeal of liability protections for online platform companies contained in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

The House also passed a bill honoring the president's last-minute request to boost pandemic stimulus checks to Americans from $600 to $2,000 per eligible person. That measure passed on a 275-134 vote.

Trump had threatened to veto the $3.3 trillion fiscal year 2021 appropriations bill and $900 billion in pandemic relief over the issue of direct payments to Americans and unrelated spending items, mostly foreign aid. Trump signed that bill on Sunday, averting a lapse in appropriations and a partial government shutdown that would have been triggered at midnight on Monday.

The $2,000 direct payments bill now heads to the Senate. It's unclear if it will pass or even come up for a vote.