- President Donald Trump is urging House Republicans to reject an essential defence spending bill due to his longstanding feud with tech companies.
- “I hope House Republicans will vote against the very weak National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA), which I will VETO,” Trump tweeted. “Must include a termination of Section 230 (for National Security purposes), preserve our National Monuments, & allow for 5G & troop reductions in foreign lands!”
- The NDAA is considered a “must-pass” bill and provides funding for all aspects of the military, from national security programs to troops’ pay.
- He has threatened to veto the NDAA unless it includes an unrelated provision to repeal Section 230, an internet law that protects social media companies.
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President Donald Trump pressured House Republicans on Tuesday to reject an essential defence bill over his longstanding feud with tech companies.
“I hope House Republicans will vote against the very weak National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA), which I will VETO,” he tweeted on Tuesday morning. “Must include a termination of Section 230 (for National Security purposes), preserve our National Monuments, & allow for 5G & troop reductions in foreign lands!” (An initial tweet, which he removed, misspelled “troop” as “troupe.”)
The statement comes ahead of the House’s scheduled vote on Tuesday on the $US740.5 billion spending package, known as the NDAA. The legislation is considered “must-pass” as it covers funding for all aspects of the military, from national security programs to troops’ pay.
Trump has threatened to veto passage of the NDAA unless it includes an unrelated provision to repeal Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, an internet law that provides social media companies protections to control content-regulation on their platforms.
The president aims to terminate the law as part of his battle against Silicon Valley giants Twitter and Facebook, for what he describes as censorship against conservatives on the sites.
Many Republicans have echoed the concern and have grilled the tech leaders at congressional hearings, though both Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg have pushed back on claims that the platforms suppress conservative users. Democrats have also hammered the social media companies for enabling misinformation to spread online.
Yet both parties appear united in their call to pass the annual defence bill without Trump’s consideration to revoke Section 230.
“For 59 straight years, the NDAA has passed because Members of Congress and Presidents of both parties have set aside their own policy objectives and partisan preferences and put the needs of our military personnel and America’s security first,” House Armed Services Chairman Adam Smith, a Democrat, and ranking member Mac Thornberry, a Republican, said in a statement last week.
“The time has come to do that again,” they added.
The Senate is also expected to hold its vote on the bill this week, and leaders are likewise rejecting Trump’s bid against the internet law.
“First of all, 230 has nothing to do with the military,” Senate Armed Services Chairman Republican Jim Inhofe said, according to Reuters. “And I agree with [Trump’s] sentiments. We ought to do away with 230, but you can’t do it in this bill. That’s not a part of the bill.”
Trump has increased his attacks on tech companies since the election, as both Twitter and Facebook have been labelling his misleading or false posts on the 2020 race with warnings intended to prevent misinformation.
On Thanksgiving, he went on a Twitter rant calling for the termination of Section 230 and declaring conservative discrimination on the site after the hashtag #DiaperDon trended.
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