Overnight Defense: Congress sends Trump defense bill he threatened to veto | Senate approves stopgap spending bill to prevent shutdown | Navy searching for sailor overboard

Overnight Defense: Congress sends Trump defense bill he threatened to veto | Senate approves stopgap spending bill to prevent shutdown | Navy searching for sailor overboard
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Happy Friday and welcome to Overnight Defense. I'm Rebecca Kheel, and here's your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond. CLICK HERE to subscribe to the newsletter.

THE TOPLINE: The Senate has sent the annual defense policy bill to President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump goes after Cassidy after saying he wouldn't support him for president in 2024 Jan. 6 panel lays out criminal contempt case against Bannon Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Agencies sound alarm over ransomware targeting agriculture groups MORE’s desk, kicking off a veto showdown.

The Senate overwhelmingly passed the $740 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in an 84-13 vote Friday, approving it with more than the two-thirds majority that would be needed to override a potential veto from Trump.

The bill already passed the House this week in a 355-78 vote, meaning it now goes to Trump, where he’ll have to decide if he is going to follow through with his veto threat despite bipartisan opposition.

Though the bill passed both chambers with enough votes to override a veto, there could be a shuffling on an override vote with some GOP lawmakers flipping to stick with Trump and some Democrats who opposed the bill supporting an override. 

The split: Top Republicans touted the bill ahead of Friday, underscoring the division between the president and congressional Republican leaders. 

“It does not contain every policy that either side would like to pass, but a huge number of crucial policies are included and a lot of bad ideas were kept out. So I would encourage all our colleagues to vote to advance this must-pass bill,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money — Democrats tee up Senate spending battles with GOP The Memo: Powell ended up on losing side of GOP fight Treasury to use extraordinary measures despite debt ceiling hike MORE (R-Ky.). 

Republicans say there have been efforts to talk Trump down from his veto threat, which could imperil a bill that typically passes with overwhelming bipartisan support and has been signed into law for 59 years in a row. 

“My hope is that if the number is big enough that the president reconsiders his threat to veto it. It's clear what the final outcome will be,” said Sen. John CornynJohn CornynCornyn raises more than M for Senate GOP Is the Biden administration afraid of trade? The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - After high drama, Senate lifts debt limit MORE (R-Texas).

But Trump has shown no signs of backing down from trying to sink the bill, and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofePowell death leads to bipartisan outpouring of grief Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — Senators slam Pentagon officials Generals contradict Biden, say they advised leaving troops in Afghanistan MORE (R-Okla.), who spoke with the president this week, said he expects him to veto it. 

Trump’s backup: Though House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthySchiff: McCarthy 'will do whatever Trump tells him' if GOP wins back House House GOP campaign arm raises .8 million in third quarter McCarthy raises nearly M so far this year MORE (R-Calif.) voted for it this week, he has vowed that he won’t support a veto override.

GOP Sens. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyState watchdog to launch review of Biden's Afghanistan withdrawal Juan Williams: Trump's toxicity fuels fear of violence Pentagon, State Department square off on Afghanistan accountability MORE (Mo.) and Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Altria - House debt vote today; Biden struggles to unite Arkansas legislature splits Little Rock in move that guarantees GOP seats The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate nears surprise deal on short-term debt ceiling hike MORE (Ark.), two potential 2024 hopefuls who supported the Senate’s bill earlier this year, warned that they would oppose the final version of the bill. 

Cotton said the bill “stiff arms” the president. 

"As this massive bill was written and then rushed to a vote, some seem to have forgotten to consult with the commander in chief or recall that he has a veto power,” Cotton said. 

Neither chamber has been able to successfully override one of Trump’s vetoes during his administration.

SENATE PASSES CR: The Senate also sent Trump another imperative bill Friday: the one-week stopgap bill to prevent a government shutdown after midnight.

Senators passed the bill by a voice vote, moving the funding deadline from the end of the day Friday to Dec. 18.

The continuing resolution (CR) already passed the House on Wednesday, meaning it now goes to Trump’s desk, where he’ll need to sign it by midnight. 

More work to do: Though a shutdown is averted for now, negotiators are still trying to lock down a mammoth agreement that would include the 12 fiscal 2021 bills and fund the government until Oct. 1, 2021. 

“I remain hopeful that essential progress on these items will continue. We ought to pass a full-year funding measure and I hope our committees in the Senate and House can complete their work and deliver legislation next week,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). 

Top appropriators and members of leadership have been locked in behind-the-scenes talks for weeks to try to work out an agreement. They already passed two CRs — Friday’s and a measure that passed at the end of September to get the government past the start of the 2021 fiscal year that started on Oct. 1. 

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said that the mammoth funding deal is largely down to the last hurdle: how to cover the cost of a Veterans Affairs health care program. 

"The omnibus is moving along. We're trying to work out the veterans health," Shelby said. "That's the big one right now. It's the only big one."

NAVY SEARCHING FOR SAILOR OVERBOARD: The Navy is looking for a sailor thought to have fallen from the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt off the coast of Southern California.

The ship began the search Thursday “after a lookout spotted what appeared to be a person in the water,” according to a Navy statement released Friday.

One sailor was later unaccounted for, the statement said. 

The Navy has since scrambled three search and rescue helicopters and other Navy and Coast Guard ships to help in the search efforts.

The Roosevelt on Monday set sail from San Diego on a scheduled deployment.


The Center for Strategic and International Studies will host an online event on “Civics as a National Security Imperative” with retired Gen. Carter Ham, retired Adm. Bill McRaven and retired Gen. Lori Robinson at 4 p.m. https://bit.ly/37aakPZ


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