On Monday, the U.S. House voted to override President Donald Trump’s recent veto of the defense spending bill for the upcoming year, and a full 109 House Republicans voted against Trump, with a final total of 322 Representatives in favor of overriding the veto and just 87 backing Trump’s position. Originally, Trump vetoed the defense spending bill amidst complaints that the legislation left legal liability protections for social media companies in place, although the connection between these liability protections and national defense is tenuous, at best. In reality, Trump has feuded with social media companies like Twitter, and removing the legal liability protections, which cover many things that users post on the platforms, could be a way to punitively retaliate against the companies.
The House voted 322-87.
109 Republicans voted to override Trump's veto. https://t.co/rKZX3ji4Tf
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) December 29, 2020
Trump recently implied that he was keen on also vetoing a massive COVID-19 relief bill, but he ended up signing the legislation over the weekend. Trump complained about the size of direct payments to Americans in that legislation, which were set at $600, insisting that the dollar amount should be raised to $2,000. As of early Tuesday, the House had passed standalone legislation to increase the check amounts, with a Senate vote as the last remaining major barrier between the proposal and the money getting to the American people. At least a handful of Republicans, including Sens. David Perdue (Ga.), Kelly Loeffler (Ga.), and Josh Hawley (Mo.) have indicated their support for $2,000 checks. Besides the dollar amount of those direct cash payments, Trump also complained about foreign aid included in that bill.
I will be joining @BernieSanders in blocking the defense bill until we get a vote on $2000 in direct cash relief. That relief passed in the House today with 44 Republicans voting for it. Senate Republicans must do the same and get the American people the help they need. https://t.co/gPbdiUZ4cf
— Ed Markey (@EdMarkey) December 29, 2020
In the Senate, Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) pledged to filibuster a planned Senate vote on the prospective defense spending veto override until the chamber held a vote on the $2,000 check proposal. Although a harried Twitter post isn’t exactly a pinnacle of presidential negotiations — to say the least — Trump posted a Tuesday morning Twitter message insisting on “$2000 for our great people, not $600!”
$2000 for our great people, not $600! They have suffered enough from the China Virus!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 29, 2020
The two ongoing Senate elections in Georgia could help clear the way for additional meaningful COVID relief for the American people in the future. In Georgia, Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff are running to unseat Loeffler and Perdue in a state where President-elect Joe Biden won by a thin margin in the general election. Two Democratic victories in Georgia would leave the Senate 50-50, but Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be tasked with breaking ties.