The strong bipartisan majorities in both houses of the defense bill represent a major rebuke to the president, as it contains many disavowal of his policies as commander in chief.
The bill contains new restrictions on the amount of the military’s construction budget that the president may move with an emergency order – a direct response to Trump’s efforts to divert billions of Pentagon dollars toward the border wall. It also limits the president’s ability to reduce troop levels in Germany, South Korea and Afghanistan – a move Trump has planned over the objections of his party members.
In his veto statement, Trump listed restrictions on troop deployment at the top of his list of complaints with the legislation. He also objected to the bill’s mandate to the Pentagon to change the names of facilities that honor members of the Confederation, and not to include abolishing a completely unrelated law – Section 230 of the Communications Etiquette Act – that gives tech companies certain liability protections from content posted by third parties on their websites.
Trump targeted Section 230 as part of a larger campaign against social media companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Google, which he accused of harboring an anti-conservative bias.
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