US President Donald Trump has pledged to veto the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which sets out the military budget for 2021, unless a measure shielding social media firms from liability for user content is terminated.
The president took to Twitter on Tuesday night with a series of posts deeming Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act a “serious threat” to US national security and the integrity of its elections.
Our Country can never be safe & secure if we allow it to stand.
“Therefore, if the very dangerous & unfair Section 230 is not completely terminated as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), I will be forced to unequivocally VETO the Bill when sent to the very beautiful Resolute desk. Take back America NOW,” he wrote.
…..Therefore, if the very dangerous & unfair Section 230 is not completely terminated as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), I will be forced to unequivocally VETO the Bill when sent to the very beautiful Resolute desk. Take back America NOW. Thank you!
Trump has taken aim at Section 230 in the past, repeatedly urging lawmakers to amend or repeal the provision. Accusing the firms of “censorship” and an anti-conservative bias, he has called to hold social media sites liable as “publishers” of user content, rather than passive “platforms,” as is allowed under the measure. While the president signed an executive order in May seeking to roll back protections for social media companies, the directive did not actually repeal Section 230, but merely called on the Federal Communications Commission to “clarify” its meaning.
The commander in chief has also previously threatened to veto the 2021 NDAA bill, vowing to do so last summer after Democratic Senator from Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren successfully inserted an amendment aiming to rename US military bases honoring Confederate commanders. The bill, which calls for a staggering $700 billion-plus in military spending for next year, passed both chambers of Congress earlier this year and is now in final negotiations in conference committee.
Though the White House has reportedly worked behind the scenes in recent weeks to press lawmakers to repeal Section 230, the chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi), has proposed an amendment to the NDAA that would push a more “limited change” to the provision, according to Axios. It remains to be seen whether that approach can be reconciled with the president’s.
It is also unclear if Trump could carry out his threat to veto, given that the NDAA secured veto-proof majorities in both chambers earlier this year. However, it could be made possible if Republican lawmakers backing the bill changed their votes.
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