Shortly after President Donald Trump vetoed the $732 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist called on Congress to override his veto.
The bill passed both the House and the Senate earlier this month with veto-proof super majorities. Congress can usurp the President’s action with another 2/3 majority vote.
“The United States Constitution was established in part to provide for the common defense. As the Representative from Florida’s 13th Congressional District, I understand that my job is to do all I can to keep Pinellas families safe. That’s why I was proud to join an overwhelming, bipartisan majority to pass this year’s defense bill,” Crist said.
“I struggle to make sense of why the Commander-in-Chief, in his final days in office, has taken this step, which does not support our national defense or our troops, during the holidays no less. It sends a dangerous message to our adversaries as our nation prepares for a presidential transition and grapples with the unprecedented Russian cyberattack on our government and our businesses. Congress must step up and override this veto — for our troops, for our values, for our security, and for the people.”
The National Defense Authorization Act calls for the U.S. to confront its adversaries including Russia, and China, by supporting allies, fully funding the European Deterrence Initiative and authorizing a $2.2 billion Pacific Deterrence Initiative to contain China. It also calls for a report on Russian bounties on U.S. service members.
The NDAA would also secure elections by allowing the State Department to offer rewards for information on foreign election interference.
Under the act, U.S. service members would receive a 3% pay raise and increased hazard pay of $275 a month.
The NDAA includes Crist’s own bill to protect Coast Guard retirement pay from future government shutdowns, the only military branch not to enjoy such protection.
In addition, the act provides benefits for veterans exposed to Agent Orange including by adding several medical conditions to those authorized for treatment.
The NDAA also contains provisions to update standards for military government housing, create a new Domestic Violence Task Force, allow victims of sexual harassment to make confidential reports outside their chain of command, report on restoring honor to veterans discharged from the military under the now defunct Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy an include VA employees in paid parental leave benefits provided other federal employees.
Likely angering the outgoing President, the bill included limits on how much money could be spent on his border wall. Trump had previously signaled he might veto the bill because it did not repeal a law that shields internet companies from liability based on what is posted on their websites.
“The Act fails to include critical national security measures, includes provisions that fail to respect our veterans and our military’s history, and contradicts efforts by my Administration to put America first in our national security and foreign policy actions. It is a ‘gift’ to China and Russia,” Trump wrote in a memo to Congress outlining his veto.