President Donald Trump announced Wednesday he will veto the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) because it fails to remove Section 230—the liability shield that protects social media companies.
“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 America first in our national security and foreign policy actions,” he said in a statement. “It is a ‘gift’ to China and Russia.”
The NDAA, the president said, fails to make changes to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act even though both Republicans and Democrats have called for it to be repealed. Conservatives have said it enables social media companies like Twitter and Facebook to engage in censorship of dissenting views, and some progressives have said the law fails to take “hate speech” posted on those platforms into account.
But Trump said that the 1996 law “must be repealed” as it allows “the spread of foreign disinformation online,” making it a “serious threat to our national security and election integrity.”
After Trump threatened to veto the bill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he is prepared to override it in the Senate. The NDAA was passed earlier this month with overwhelming bipartisan support.
“In the event that the president has vetoed the bill, and the House has voted to override the veto, the Senate would have the opportunity to process a veto override at that time,” the Kentucky Republican said at around 1:45 a.m. on Tuesday. And McConnell announced on the floor: “The Democratic Leader and I have agreed to unanimous request as follows: the Senate will meet for pro forma sessions only until December 29th when we will return to session.”
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