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US President Donald trump has offered a new justification for threatening to veto the annual defense policy bill that covers the military budget for equipment and salary increases for service members: China. He did not describe his concerns.

Republican and Democratic lawmakers say the broad defense policy bill, which the Senate sent to the president on Friday, would be tough on China and should be signed into law as soon as possible.

Both the House and Senate passed the measure by margins large enough to override a possible veto by the president, who has a history of failing to carry out the actions he has threatened.

Surrounded by army cadets, President Donald Trump watches the first half of the 121st Army and Navy soccer game at the Michie Stadium of the United States Military Academy, Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020, in West Point, New York. (AP)

“The biggest winner from our new defense bill is China! I’m going to veto! “Trump said in a new tweet.

The White House did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment on Trump’s specific concerns about China.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the bill would help deter Chinese aggression.

Other Republican supporters of the measure, including Senator John Thune of South Dakota, the second Senate leader, and Representative Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, tweeted that the bill would counter. threats from countries like China.

Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed, the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Trump’s statement that China is the biggest winner on the defense bill is false.

Senator Reed also pointed to the shifting explanations Trump has given for veto threats.

The threat comes amid fears that the United States is at the beginning of a “New Cold War” with China. (AP)

“President Trump clearly has not read the bill, nor does he understand what it contains,” Senator Reed said.

“There are several bipartisan provisions here that are getting tougher on China than the Trump Administration has ever been.”

A possible override of a veto would be news to Trump, coming shortly before he leaves office on January 20.

It takes a two-thirds vote in each house for the bill to become law without Trump’s signature.

The president has made numerous threats on Twitter to veto the bill over the requirement that military bases honoring Confederate leaders eventually be renamed.

He also threatened a veto to try to force lawmakers to include provisions, not related to the military and national defense, to punish social media companies that he said were biased against him during elections.

Congress has passed the bill, known as the National Defense Authorization Act, for nearly 60 years in a row.

The current version claims 3 percent wage increases for US troops and authorizes more than A $ 982 billion in military and construction programs.

The measure guides Pentagon policy and informs decisions about troop levels, new weapons systems and military readiness, military personnel policy, and other military objectives.

Many programs can only go into effect if the bill passes, including military construction.

The Pentagon Building in Washington DC. (Supplied)

Senator McConnell, in a rare break with Trump, had urged it to pass despite Trump’s threat to veto it.

Senator McConnell said it was important that Congress continue its nearly six-decade streak of passing the defense policy bill.

In addition to the budget and salary increases it would provide, Senator McConnell said the bill “will keep our forces ready to deter China and stand firm in the Indo-Pacific.”

Representative Gallagher tweeted last week that the United States was at the beginning of a “New Cold War” with China and that the defense bill “takes important steps to help us meet these challenges and ultimately win this competition.” .

Senator Thune said in a tweet that the move would help the United States defend itself against threats from China and Russia.

“It is important that this bill becomes law as soon as possible,” he said.

Trump tweeted last Tuesday that he will veto the “very weak” defense bill unless he repeals Section 230, part of the communications code that protects Twitter, Facebook and other tech giants from liability for content.

The White House said in a policy statement that “Section 230 facilitates the spread of disinformation online and is a serious threat to our national security and electoral integrity. It should be repealed. ″


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