The Senate passed the compromise version of the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act today in an 84-13 vote, following a 335-78 earlier in the week in the House of Representatives.
The bill authorizes military spending for this current fiscal year. This year’s bill includes everything from allowing the Navy to buy two Virginia-class attack submarines after a fiscal fight to squeeze those boats in, to providing oversight on the in-development Large Unmanned Surface Vessel, to establishing a Pacific Deterrence Initiative to work with regional allies to push back against Chinese actions.
President Donald Trump has threatened to veto the bill over unrelated matters, though, after he demanded the bill also include a repeal of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which prevents social media websites from being held liable for users’ comments.
Lawmakers did not agree to add that language, since the annual defense bill is considered a must-pass and as a result is generally kept free of controversial riders.
The bill passed the House and Senate by veto-proof majorities. Still, if Trump were to follow through and actually veto the bill, it would force a second vote in each chamber – and it’s unclear how many Republican lawmakers who voted for the bill this week would change their vote next time to honor the president’s veto.
House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said he would vote for the bill but would encourage members of his party to stand with the president if he made good on his threat.