WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump is closing relations with Congress with another blow, threatening to veto an extremely popular defense bill unless lawmakers give up the big technology companies he claims were biased against him during the election.
Trump is urging Congress to repeal the so-called Section 230, part of the communication code that protects Twitter, Facebook and others from liability for the content. His complaint is a battle cry from conservatives – and some Democrats – who say social media giants are treating them unfairly.
But the intervention of a complex technological problem threatens to thwart the massive defense bill that Congress is proud to have passed unmistakably for half a century. Trump almost sabotaged the package with an earlier threat of a veto over plans to stop allowing military bases to be appointed for Confederate leaders.
This is another example of the president̵
On Wednesday, a bipartisan coalition of leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees said it was enough.
“We have devised nearly 2,200 regulations to compromise on important issues affecting our national security and military,” said Adam Smith of Washington and Mc Thornbury of Texas, chairman and top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee. joint statement.
In a rare joint rebuke, they said that “for 59 years,” the National Defense Permit Act has been passed because lawmakers and presidents agree to separate their own preferences “and put the needs of our military personnel and America’s security on first place”.
“It’s time to do it again,” they said.
The powerful Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, said he had spoken to Trump in person, explaining that the defense bill was not the place for the big technology battle.
“I agree with his sentiment – we need to remove 230,” Inhofe told reporters on Wednesday at Capitol Hill after talking to Trump. “But you can’t do that in that account.”
While cooler heads are expected to prevail, the threat of a veto by Trump in the last months of his rule is his latest attempt to distort the rules. From taking money from military bases to build the border wall with Mexico to putting his nominees in office without confirmation from the Senate, Trump has resigned from the legislature, like few other leaders in recent times.
“The president seems intent on filling each of his remaining days in office with discontent, discontent, self-interest,” Democrat leader Chuck Schumer said in a Senate speech.
White House spokeswoman Kaylee McEnnany told a briefing Wednesday that the president is serious about vetoing the defense bill unless Congress repeals section 230.
“He will put pressure on Congress to step up that,” she said.
“Twitter has become a publisher who has chosen to check content,” she said. “And when you’re a publisher, there are certain responsibilities for that, and you don’t have to be held accountable.”
Past presidents have certainly threatened to veto defense bills that set annual policies with troop levels, equipment priorities, wage increases and other issues.
This is usually a broad party measure, one of the few areas of common ground. In the summer, the Senate approved its version, 86-14, while the House similarly made its efforts, with the opposition coming mostly from the liberal and conservative flanks.
On Wednesday, the two chambers announced a bicameral agreement ahead of the final vote.
When Trump first threatened to veto the confederation’s basic names, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows reached a compromise that would instead insert a new provision repealing Section 230.
Trump’s Capitol Hill allies, including parliamentary minority leader Kevin McCarthy, outraged social media companies, especially during the heated November election.
In a pair of tweets late Tuesday, Trump said the country could not allow Section 230 to remain in force. “If the very dangerous and unfair section 230 is not completely abolished as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), I will be forced to unequivocally VET the bill when it is sent to the very beautiful Resolute bureau,” he wrote on Twitter.
Some Democrats, including Sumer, agree that Section 230’s provision could be revised, although they disagree with Trump’s tactic of attaching it to the defense bill.
Inhofe said Wednesday that section 230 “has nothing to do with the military” and should be left out of the defense bill.
A Republican, Sen. Roger Wicker of the Mississippi, chairman of the Senate Trade Committee, said he was tasked with showing the White House an alternative approach that could provide some clarifying language around technology companies.
Wicker told reporters he was not sure if his proposal would be accepted. But he also said he did not believe Trump would veto the defense bill, which must pass.
“I don’t think that’s going to happen,” he said.
Associated Press writer Deb Richman contributed to this article.