U.S. President Donald Trump is urging the Senate to uphold his veto of a $740 billion defense spending measure, even as he claimed that “weak and tired Republican leadership” in the chamber would allow it to pass.
In the first such rebuke against Trump coming in the waning days of his four-year presidency, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly late Monday to override his veto and the Senate could do the same on Wednesday. The Senate approved the legislation by an 84-13 margin earlier this month, far more than the two-thirds vote needed to override Trump’s veto.
Trump on Tuesday called the defense legislation “a disgraceful act of cowardice and total submission by weak people to Big Tech.” He tweeted, “Negotiate a better Bill, or get better leaders, NOW! Senate should not approve (the National Defense Authorization Act) until fixed!!!”
The president has criticized the defense bill on several fronts, arguing without explanation that it benefits China. He also said it restricted his ability to pull U.S. troops “who do NOTHING for us” out of Germany, South Korea and Afghanistan.
Democrats plan to push the Senate on Tuesday to pass higher coronavirus pandemic relief payments to Americans, meeting Trump’s demand for $2,000 checks that has already been approved by the House as a replacement figure for the $600 stipends called for in legislation Trump signed late Sunday.
Republicans have largely resisted the additional spending. Congressman Kevin Brady of Texas said the bill would not help the nation’s unemployed get back to work.