OPINION | Senate Republicans showed their coward side as they have passed the National Defense Authorization Act by a vote of 86 – 14 with only four Republicans dissenting.
President Donald Trump had threatened to veto the bill, championed by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, because it will change the names of military bases named for Confederate soldiers, Politico reported.
The Senate overwhelmingly passed its $741 billion defense policy legislation on Thursday, with the Republican-led body defying a threat from President Donald Trump to veto legislation that would force the removal of Confederate names from Army bases.
The Senate just passed the FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act, which includes critical investments in our nation's security, our veterans, and the well-being of Montanans.
How does the NDAA serve Montana?⬇️ pic.twitter.com/J7jyLWzV9a
— Senator Jon Tester (@SenatorTester) July 23, 2020
I’m proud of the work we accomplished in the FY2021 #NDAA on behalf of our servicemembers, including securing the second consecutive pay raise of over 3%. This bipartisan legislation is a big win for North Carolina’s servicemembers and military families. https://t.co/CnSCvlyujW
— Senator Thom Tillis (@SenThomTillis) July 23, 2020
Senators approved the National Defense Authorization Act in a 86-14 blowout. Both the House and Senate have passed bills this week with majorities large enough to overcome a veto from Trump.
Senate and House Armed Services Committee leaders will soon begin negotiations to hammer out the differences in their competing bills.
The measure would kick off a process forcing the Pentagon to scrub names, monuments and paraphernalia honoring the Confederacy and its leaders from military bases and assets over the next three years. The House defense bill passed Tuesday, would force the renaming of bases within a year.
The effort, sponsored by former presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), comes amid protests over systemic racism and policy brutality across the country. Ten Army bases are named for Confederate military leaders.
This came after the president spoke against the bill and threatened to veto it, but Thursday’s vote is veto proof.
“I will Veto the Defense Authorization Bill if the Elizabeth ‘Pocahontas’ Warren (of all people!) Amendment, which will lead to the renaming (plus other bad things!) of Fort Bragg, Fort Robert E. Lee, and many other Military Bases from which we won Two World Wars, is in the Bill!” he said.
Surprisingly more Democrats voted against the NDAA than Republicans did in the final tally which was voted for by Senate Majority Leader and Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell.
Democrat Sen. Tim Kaine, the former running mate of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, defended the legislation.
“Do you really expect us to believe that a society that continues to honor those who tried to destroy our country to save slavery will be serious about ending the racial disparities that exist today?” he said.
Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe said that he supported the legislation on Wednesday for the way it will strengthen the military.
“The way we win against our adversaries is by making sure fights never start by sending a strong message that you can’t win. Don’t even try,” he said. “That’s what were doing in this bill.”