Donald Trump is against the defense budget legislative package and wants to veto it. Nevertheless, Congress votes in favor of it by a large majority – a major setback for the Republican.
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Despite a threat of a veto from US President Donald Trump, Congress approved the new defense budget by a large majority, which also aims to block the planned withdrawal of troops from Germany. After the House of Representatives, the conservatively controlled Senate voted in favor of the law on Friday. This also provides for new sanctions against the construction of the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline.
84 senators voted in favor of the budget with a volume of 740.5 billion dollars (612 billion euros) on Friday, only 13 senators voted against. The House of Representatives voted in favor of the bill on Tuesday with a majority of 335 against 78 members of parliament. In both cases a two-thirds majority was clearly exceeded.
The presidential veto can be overruled
Trump has threatened to veto the law, partly because his plans for the withdrawal of US soldiers from Germany and Afghanistan are being thwarted. Another reason is the dispute over a protection mechanism that has been in place for years that protects online platforms such as Facebook and Twitter from liability for publications by their users.
A presidential veto could be overruled by a two-thirds majority in either house of Congress. It is true that about two-thirds majorities were formed in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that such a majority would get back together in the event of a vote to overrule a possible Trump veto.
The withdrawal of troops cannot be completed by the end of January
The 4,517-page budget text is not only about the defense budget, but also contains many other measures in the field of national security and the armed forces.
The budget text states, among other things, that the US force in Germany should not be reduced for 120 days until a comprehensive report on the effects of such a withdrawal among 34,500 soldiers has been submitted. Since Trump’s term of office ends on January 20, no troop withdrawal was allowed by then.
The United States Department of Defense announced in late July that it would withdraw nearly 12,000 soldiers from Germany, reducing the force from about 36,000 at the time to 24,000.
Sanctions against Germany are excluded
The text of the law also lays down new sanctions against the construction of Nord Stream 2. On Friday, the pipeline was completed resumes after a one-year break. Work came to a halt after the last United States defense budget a year ago imposed sanctions on operators of ships laying pipes for the pipeline.
The new defense budget is now also intended to allow sanctions against insurers of such ships, as well as against companies conducting “tests, inspections or certifications” necessary for the completion or operation of the pipeline. Sanctions against the EU and governments of the EU countries – including Germany – and the non-EU states of Norway, Great Britain and Switzerland are excluded.