WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The U.S. Senate approved a wide-ranging defense policy bill Friday, with a majority that would override a potential veto from President Donald Trump.
Trump has threatened to veto the bill unless lawmakers stripped a provision that would allow the renaming of military bases named after Confederate leaders. He also urged lawmakers to impose limits on social media companies which he claims were biased against him during the presidential election.
Sen. Jack Reed, D-Rhode Island, the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, urged Trump to sign the annual defense bill into law.
“If he insists on trying to use our troops as pawns in his war on social media companies, it could needlessly disrupt military programs and operations,” Reed said in a statement. “President Trump should refrain from blocking a raise for our troops because he is unhappy with what is trending on Twitter.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, stressed the importance of Trump’s signature on the bill, which would keep the 60-year streak of its approval alive. He said the $740 billion bill is vital to the nation’s defense.
“It expands efforts to keep our men and women in uniform safe,” he said. “It directs investments in technologies to maintain our strategic edge. It makes critical supply chains more secure.”
The bill was briefly held up by concerns brought forth by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, who took issue with an amendment that would restrict Trump’s ability to decrease the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
“What we really want is 535 generals in Congress to tell him he can’t leave a war, how absurd is that?” Paul questioned. “The philosophy of these people is about war and substantiating war and making sure that it becomes and is perpetual war.”
The bill ultimately passed the Senate with a vote of 84-13. If Trump does veto the bill, Congress could cut short its Christmas recess to hold a vote on overriding it.