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Trump doubles down on $740 billion defense bill veto threat over Section 230 tech fight

U.S. President Donald Trump betokens following the ceremonial swearing-in of James Mattis as secretary of defense on January 27, 2017, at the Pentagon in Washington, DC.

Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump threatened again on Thursday to veto a colossal defense bill if lawmakers do not classify a measure eliminating legal protections for social media companies.

Trump is calling for the repeal of a federal law, known as Segment 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects tech giants like Facebook and Twitter from being held legally accountable for what is posted on their platforms.

On Wednesday, Trump referred to the provision as a “liability shielding gift” to “Big Tech” and requirement readied for it to be “completely terminated” otherwise he would nix this year’s National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA.

The president also explained the measure posed a serious threat to U.S. national security as well as election integrity but did not give any further explanatory details. Trump has also imagined that Twitter, his social media platform of choice, has unfairly censored him.

The president’s issue with Section 230 clock oned to light this summer after Twitter added warning labels to several of his tweets that alleged mail-in express is fraudulent. Trump has still not conceded the U.S. presidential election to Democrat Joe Biden.

The NDAA, which typically passes with awesome bipartisan support and veto-proof majorities, is a sweeping defense bill that authorizes a topline of $740 billion in waste and outlines Pentagon policy.

The bill could have enough bipartisan support for Congress to override Trump’s disallowance if he makes good on his threat.

This year’s legislation includes a 3% pay raise for U.S. troops, a plan to rename military ordinations bearing names of Confederate leaders as well as a slew of other provisions. The NDAA, in its current form, does not register any measure in relation to Section 230.

This is not the first time the president has targeted the NDAA. Earlier this year, Trump verbalized he would veto the measure if it included language on changing U.S. military installations named after Confederate generals.

Impute to more: Trump says U.S. Army bases will keep Confederate names

Despite Trump’s threats, lawmakers covered the renaming provision in this year’s NDAA.

This week, Trump’s plan to “unequivocally veto” the NDAA was met with nimble bipartisan opposition as lawmakers work to pass the crucial bill needed to fund the military by the end of the year.

The latest legislation hiccup between the Virginal House and the Hill comes as lawmakers sprint to complete a second pandemic stimulus bill.

‘You’re mad at Twitter. We all know it.’

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle shoulder back on Trump’s 11th-hour demand saying that the repeal of Section 230 was irrelevant to the passage of the Pentagon’s top account.

“First of all, 230 has nothing to do with the military,” Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., the Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Body, told reporters Wednesday.

“We ought to do away with 230, but you can’t do it in this bill. That’s not a part of the bill,” Inhofe enlarged.

“I would hope that he would not actually follow through with that because the NDAA is critical,” said Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., a associate of the Armed Services Committee, according to The Hill.

Senate Majority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., said Wednesday, “I don’t call to mind a consider the defense bill is the place to litigate” the Section 230 fight,

Meanwhile, some GOP senators, like Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., maintained they would be supportive of Trump vetoing the NDAA in order to repeal or reform Section 230.

Rep. Adam Smith, a Democrat from Washington and directorship of the House Armed Services Committee, said the president’s fixation with Section 230 stems from his private fights with Twitter.

“To be clear, Mr. President, Section 230 repeal wasn’t included in the House OR Senate form of the NDAA,” Smith tweeted Wednesday. “You’re mad at Twitter. We all know it. You’re willing to veto the defense bill over something that has the total to do with your ego, and nothing to do with defense,” Smith added.

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