McConnell says Senate will pass defense bill despite veto threat
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Monday that the Senate will take up and pass a mammoth defense bill despite a looming veto showdown with President Trump.
McConnell mentioned the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) as he outlined the items left on Congress’s year-end to-do list as lawmakers prepare to leave Washington for the year as soon as next week.
“We also expect to receive and pass a conference report on the annual defense authorization,” McConnell said about the massive policy bill.
The GOP leader’s remarks come as the House is poised to vote on the bill on Tuesday, paving the way for the Senate to pass it as soon as this week.
The bill, which has passed for 59 years in a row, has garnered a veto threat from Trump because it does not repeal Section 230, a legal shield for tech companies that has become a prime punching bag for Trump and his allies.
McConnell did not address Trump’s veto threat during his floor remarks.
The House and Senate both passed their initial bills with a veto-proof majority.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) has said he believes they would have the votes in the House to override a veto, in what would be a first during the Trump administration.
Top Senate Republicans have been more circumspect, saying they hope the vote margin is big enough that Trump ultimately changes his mind. The Senate’s initial defense bill passed with 86 votes.
“I just think it’s going to be a big vote,” said Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.).
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) gave similar comments reporters on Monday. But pressed if he would be supportive of a veto override, he demurred.
“When he vetoes it, I’ll tell you,” he said.
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