McConnell in deal with Big Tech, Schumer to defy President Trump on defense spending bill

by WorldTribune Staff, December 22, 2020

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have reached a deal to override President Donald Trump’s possible veto of the defense authorization bill, McConnell said on Tuesday.

Sens. Mitch McConnell, left, and Chuck Schumer

Lawmakers have been under pressure from Big Tech to override a Trump veto. The president said he would veto the bill because it did not include language repealing Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which provides a legal shield to tech companies for content on their websites.

Social media giants such as Twitter and Facebook should lose protection because they are not politically neutral forums, Trump has said.

Joe Biden told The New York Times in January of this year that Section 230 should be “revoked.” A few months before that, Biden said he thought “we should be considering taking away” Section 230 exemptions during a CNN interview.

But as Big Tech lined up behind him the Nov. 3 election, Biden did not say a word about whether he still believes Section 230 should be revoked.

In a proposed Dec. 29 session, McConnell said lawmakers will “process” a veto override.

“In the event that President Trump does elect to veto this bipartisan bill, it appears the House may choose to return after the holidays to set up a vote to consider the veto … In the event that the president has vetoed the bill, and the House has voted to override the veto, the Senate would have the opportunity to process a veto override at that time,” McConnell said.

The National Defense Authorization Act passed the House 335-78 and the Senate 84-13. Trump has until Dec. 23 to decide whether he wants to veto the annual bill or allow it to become law.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Trump intends to veto the bill, with the president’s “priority” being the repeal of Section 230 protections for big tech. McEnany told reporters that companies like Twitter were allowing China to publish misinformation.

“By including a Section 230 repeal what you’re in effect allowing is Twitter to continue to not censor Chinese propaganda,” McEnany said, referring to several missives denying the coronavirus originated in Wuhan. “The president’s priority is to ensure that that isn’t permitted.”

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