Republicans joined with Democrats to hand President Trump a rare legislative rebuke in the final days of his presidency. The bill will next be taken up by the Senate, where it is expected to pass.
The House voted on Monday to override President Trump’s veto of the annual military policy bill, mustering bipartisan support to enact the legislation over the president’s objections and handing him a rare legislative rebuke in the final days of his presidency.
The 322-to-87 vote is the first time a chamber of Congress has agreed to override one of Mr. Trump’s vetoes, underscoring the sweeping popularity of the military legislation, which authorizes a pay raise for the nation’s troops. It also amounted to a remarkable reprimand over the president’s decision to flout one of his party’s key orthodoxies — projecting military strength — from Republicans who have been reluctant to challenge Mr. Trump during his four years in office.
The margin surpassed the two-thirds majority needed to force enactment of the bill over Mr. Trump’s objections. The Senate, which must also get approval from two-thirds of its chamber, will take up the legislation later in the week.
But attempts to quickly pass it in the Senate could be complicated by Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont, who said on Monday that he would delay consideration of the military bill unless lawmakers voted on a separate bill — one that would increase the size of individual stimulus checks to $2,000.
The House on Monday passed its own bill that would raise direct stimulus payments to $2,000 from the $600 included in the coronavirus relief package that Mr. Trump signed into law on Sunday. That prompted several senators, including Mr. Sanders and Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York, to call for a similar vote in the Senate.
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In an interview on Monday evening, Mr. Sanders said that he planned to block an attempt on Tuesday by Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, to expedite consideration of the military policy bill, unless Mr. McConnell committed to putting the bigger relief checks on the floor for a vote. That could force lawmakers to stay in Washington through New Year’s Day to advance the veto override.
“Millions of families in America today are desperate, and the Senate has got to do its job by having a vote,” Mr. Sanders said.
Congress has succeeded in passing the military bill each year for 60 years, with lawmakers relishing the opportunity to assert their support for national security and bring home wins to their constituents.
But Mr. Trump, making good on a monthslong series of threats, vetoed the bipartisan legislation on Wednesday, citing a shifting list of reasons including his objection to a provision directing the military to strip the names of Confederate leaders from bases. He also demanded that the bill include the repeal of a legal shield for social media companies that he has tangled with, a significant legislative change that Republicans and Democrats alike have said is irrelevant to a bill that dictates military policy.