The House of Representatives has passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY 2021 today. The bill passed with a veto-proof majority, undercutting President Trump threats on Twitter to veto the ‘must-pass’ legislation.
President Trump previously threatened to veto the bill, also via tweet, last week. His decision stems from the fact that the NDAA doesn’t get rid of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Because of Section 230, online platforms that host third-party content – such as social media platforms – are not treated as “publishers” of information and are thus protected against a range of laws that might otherwise be used to hold them legally responsible for what others say and do. The President and his supporters want to remove the provision due to complaints of alleged censorship on social media.
The bill is also expected to pass in the Senate. Up until today, many legislators – including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. – believed they could override Trump’s veto, should he carry through on his threat. Today the House Freedom Caucus, which has roughly 37 members, tweeted that they would oppose the NDAA. This move could have thrown a wrench in Hill leadership’s plan to override a Trump veto. However, enough House members voted for the legislation to block a potential veto.
The legislation still needs to clear the Senate before moving on to the President’s desk. Should Trump veto the bill after Congress goes into recess, leadership will need to convene a special session between Christmas and the New Year. If the override doesn’t happen, the new Congress begins on Jan. 3, and with that, the existing NDAA will expire. At that point, the House and Senate will have to start over and the legislation could be subject to new provisions and negotiations.
Following today’s vote in the House, the Senate is expected to vote on the legislation as soon as this week or early next week.