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House approves defense spending bill amid Trump veto threats

The House voted 335-78 to approve the $740 billion National Defense Authorization Act on Tuesday despite President Donald Trump declaring he would veto the bill. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
The House voted 335-78 to approve the $740 billion National Defense Authorization Act on Tuesday despite President Donald Trump declaring he would veto the bill. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 8 (UPI) -- The House on Tuesday granted overwhelming bipartisan approval to the annual defense spending bill despite threats by President Donald Trump that he would veto the bill.

Lawmakers approved the $740 billion National Defense Authorization Act by a vote of 335-78, surpassing the two-thirds necessary to override a presidential veto, although there was no solid commitment that Republican lawmakers would vote against the action by Trump.

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A total of 140 Republicans joined a majority of Democrats in voting "yes" for the bill, while 37 Democrats voted "no" and one voted present.

The NDAA includes funding for major military programs and weapons systems, and authorizes dozens of special pay and bonuses for service members.

"This bipartisan policy bill has been signed into law for 59 consecutive years. Let's urge the president to show respect to the work of the bicameral, bipartisan Congress and for the sacrifice of our military," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said ahead of the vote.

Some Republicans in the House have called on their colleagues in the Senate to support the bill in hopes of avoiding a veto.

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"The stronger the vote, the less chance of having to deal with a veto later," Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, said. "

Trump, however, has opposed the measure based on a provision that would require the Pentagon to rename military bases and other property named after Confederate figures and establish a commission to determine how those changes will be executed.

Additionally, Trump has demanded that the bill include a repeal of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which provides liability protection to online platforms for content posted by third parties.

"I hope House Republicans will vote against the very weak National Defense Authorization Act, which I will VETO," Trump wrote on Twitter Tuesday morning before the vote. "Must include a termination of Section 230 (for National Security purposes), preserve our National Monuments, & allow for 5G & troop reductions in foreign lands!"

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