Trump Says He Will Veto Defense Spending Bill Approved by Congress
Jim Mattis, U.S. secretary of defense, speaks next to the $1.3 trillion spending bill H.R. 1625 as U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and Wilbur Ross, U.S. commerce secretary, right, listen in the Diplomatic Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S. (Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

Trump Says He Will Veto Defense Spending Bill Approved by Congress

President Donald Trump repeated his threat to veto the U.S. defense spending bill that last week won enough bipartisan support in Congress to easily overturn his opposition.

“THE BIGGEST WINNER OF OUR NEW DEFENSE BILL IS CHINA!. I WILL VETO!” Trump wrote in a tweet Sunday.

It was unclear what Trump meant by China being the beneficiary of the legislation. The president didn’t elaborate on the Twitter post, which landed minutes before he arrived at his Virginia golf club.

Trump had recently vowed to veto the must-pass spending package on various grounds, including his opposition to renaming bases that honor Confederate generals, and his insistence that it should strip away liability protections for social media companies.

“First he threatened the bill because of the Confederate base language,” said Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island, ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee. “Then it was the unrelated Section 230 liability provision for social media companies. Now it’s China. Give me a break.”

The 2021 National Defense Authorization Act passed the Senate 84-13 on Friday after the $740 billion plan cleared the House in an earlier 335-78 vote. Reed argued that it includes bipartisan provisions “that get tougher on China than the Trump administration has ever been.”

The extent of the bill’s vote majorities would defeat a Trump veto by a wide margin, although any presidential move to reject the legislation would need to be overridden by another round of votes, and some of his Capitol Hill allies could feel political pressure from the outgoing president.

Also embedded in the bill is a victory for Wall Street banks, which worked with law enforcement on legislation that will overhaul money-laundering protections.

The highest-profile provision will create a business-owner database meant to bar use of anonymous shell companies to launder money. But it also includes some modernization of banks’ money-laundering requirements that will allow the firms to use technology to sniff out illicit transactions instead of the current reliance on large numbers of personnel.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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