President Trump on Wednesday vetoed the $741 billion fiscal year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, with Congress set to hold votes next week to override the decision.

Lawmakers over the last several weeks urged the president to reconsider his push to block the bill, which passed both chambers with bipartisan support, citing the legislations’ authorization of new weapons programs, an array of cyber security provisions and troop pay raises.

President Donald J. Trump shakes hands with the incoming commander of U.S. Space Command, Air Force Gen. John W. Raymond, following the conclusion of the ceremony on the establishment of the U.S. Space Command, the White House, Washington, D.C., Aug. 29, 2019. (DoD photo by Lisa Ferdinando)

The president, however, followed through on his repeated objections to the bill’s directive for renaming bases named after Confederate leaders and for not including a provision for stripping a social media-related regulation.

“Unfortunately, the Act fails to include critical national security measures, includes provisions that fail to respect our veterans and our military’s history, and contradicts efforts by my Administration to put American first in our national security and foreign policy actions. It is a ‘gift’ to China and Russia,” Trump wrote in a statement. 

Congress is now preparing to hold veto override votes in the House on Dec. 28 and the Senate on Dec. 29 (Defense Daily, Dec. 22). 

The House and Senate each voted to pass the final NDAA conference report with veto-proof majorities, receiving votes well above the two-thirds majority support that would be required to override a potential veto (Defense Daily, Dec. 11). 

“From Confederate base names to social media liability provisions that have nothing to do with national defense to imaginary and easily refutable charges about China, it’s hard to keep track of President Trump’s unprincipled, irrational excuses for vetoing this bipartisan bill,” Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), the Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member, said in a statement.  “On the eve of Christmas Eve, this veto seems to be Trump’s parting gift to Putin and a lump of coal for our troops. This bill is critically important to our national defense and the quality of life for Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen. Not only is President Trump denying troops in the field hazard pay, he is also refusing to provide critical help for their families, including health care and other support.”