US Senate Overrides Trumps NDAA Veto – Ends Section 230 Repeal Attempt

Trumps quest to kill free speech by repealing Section 230 has come to an end. The Senate has voted to override Trump’s NDAA veto.

Late last year, outgoing president, Donald Trump tried to kill free speech online by demanding the repeal of Section 230. Thanks to Trump losing the US general election to Joe Biden, time is growing increasingly short to cause further damage to the Internet. So, in a last ditch effort, Trump demanded that the repeal of Section 230 be attached to the NDAA. When he didn’t get what he wanted, Trump carried through with his veto threat and defunded the military.

Military organizations reacted to the situation by calling the defunding of the military a national security threat. Those organizations, of course, have a lot of influence in government. So, the question is, which side will Republican’s choose? Do Republican’s choose the military (and, by extension, their donors) or Trump?

As it turns out, in Congress, lawmakers wound up giving a sharp rebuke and voted to override Trump’s veto. The override requires a supermajority, so both Democrats and Republican’s have to, to a certain degree, vote in favor of the override.

That left the Republican controlled Senate. On the outset, some worried that the vote would be close. As a result, the risk is that the NDAA veto override would not be successful. Indeed, Lindsey Graham said that he will vote against the veto override. So, this did raise the question of whether Graham would be able to influence enough Republican’s to vote his way.

By New Years Eve, the signals coming from the Senate suggest that Graham may not get his way. Word was that the Senate will have enough votes for a veto override. This put the efforts to kill Section 230 in serious doubt.

Now, we are seeing reports surfacing that the US Senate has, indeed, voted to override Trumps veto. From USA Today:

The Senate on Friday overrode President Donald Trump’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) — the first congressional override in Trump’s tenure as president and a final rebuke of the president just weeks before he leaves office.

The House of Representatives on Monday voted 322-87 to override the president, a remarkable bipartisan condemnation of the president in divided Washington. The Senate voted 81-13 in favor of overriding Trump, and the NDAA will be enacted into law despite Trump’s disapproval.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urged fellow Republicans to vote in favor of overriding Trump earlier this week.

“For the brave men and women of the United States armed forces, failure is not an option. So when it is our turn in Congress to have their backs, failure is not an option here either,” the Kentucky Republican said on the Senate floor. “I urge my colleagues to support this legislation one more time.”

The article doesn’t offer a vote breakdown, but we were able to find it via the official Senate page:

Vote Counts:
YEAs – 81
NAYs – 13
Not Voting – 6

Alexander (R-TN), Yea
Baldwin (D-WI), Yea
Barrasso (R-WY), Yea
Bennet (D-CO), Yea
Blackburn (R-TN), Yea
Blumenthal (D-CT), Yea
Blunt (R-MO), Yea
Booker (D-NJ), Nay
Boozman (R-AR), Yea
Braun (R-IN), Nay
Brown (D-OH), Yea
Burr (R-NC), Yea
Cantwell (D-WA), Yea
Capito (R-WV), Yea
Cardin (D-MD), Yea
Carper (D-DE), Yea
Casey (D-PA), Yea
Cassidy (R-LA), Yea
Collins (R-ME), Yea
Coons (D-DE), Yea
Cornyn (R-TX), Yea
Cortez Masto (D-NV), Yea
Cotton (R-AR), Nay
Cramer (R-ND), Yea
Crapo (R-ID), Yea
Cruz (R-TX), Nay
Daines (R-MT), Yea
Duckworth (D-IL), Yea
Durbin (D-IL), Yea
Enzi (R-WY), Yea
Ernst (R-IA), Yea
Feinstein (D-CA), Yea
Fischer (R-NE), Yea
Gardner (R-CO), Not Voting
Gillibrand (D-NY), Yea
Graham (R-SC), Not Voting
Grassley (R-IA), Yea
Harris (D-CA), Yea
Hassan (D-NH), Yea
Hawley (R-MO), Nay
Heinrich (D-NM), Yea
Hirono (D-HI), Yea
Hoeven (R-ND), Yea
Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Yea
Inhofe (R-OK), Yea
Johnson (R-WI), Yea
Jones (D-AL), Not Voting
Kaine (D-VA), Yea
Kelly (D-AZ), Yea
Kennedy (R-LA), Nay
King (I-ME), Yea
Klobuchar (D-MN), Yea
Lankford (R-OK), Yea
Leahy (D-VT), Yea
Lee (R-UT), Nay
Loeffler (R-GA), Not Voting
Manchin (D-WV), Yea
Markey (D-MA), Nay
McConnell (R-KY), Yea
Menendez (D-NJ), Yea
Merkley (D-OR), Nay
Moran (R-KS), Yea
Murkowski (R-AK), Yea
Murphy (D-CT), Yea
Murray (D-WA), Yea
Paul (R-KY), Nay
Perdue (R-GA), Not Voting
Peters (D-MI), Yea
Portman (R-OH), Yea
Reed (D-RI), Yea
Risch (R-ID), Yea
Roberts (R-KS), Yea
Romney (R-UT), Yea
Rosen (D-NV), Yea
Rounds (R-SD), Yea
Rubio (R-FL), Yea
Sanders (I-VT), Nay
Sasse (R-NE), Not Voting
Schatz (D-HI), Yea
Schumer (D-NY), Yea
Scott (R-FL), Yea
Scott (R-SC), Yea
Shaheen (D-NH), Yea
Shelby (R-AL), Yea
Sinema (D-AZ), Yea
Smith (D-MN), Yea
Stabenow (D-MI), Yea
Sullivan (R-AK), Yea
Tester (D-MT), Yea
Thune (R-SD), Yea
Tillis (R-NC), Yea
Toomey (R-PA), Yea
Udall (D-NM), Yea
Van Hollen (D-MD), Yea
Warner (D-VA), Yea
Warren (D-MA), Nay
Whitehouse (D-RI), Yea
Wicker (R-MS), Yea
Wyden (D-OR), Nay
Young (R-IN), Yea

This ultimately means that the NDAA is now law without a Section 230 repeal. As a result, there is nothing Trump can do to stop this from becoming law now that we are aware of.

What it also means is that this could be the final nail in the coffin for Trumps effort to repeal Section 230. There is, of course, efforts to tie COVID relief funds to the repeal of Section 230, but many observers note that this effort is doomed to fail. So, the quest to end free speech on the Internet has become the latest Trump failure in a legacy jam packed with failure. In this case, with respect to Section 230, it is a win for digital rights.

Of course, as we pointed out previously, things aren’t quite so simple, though. While Section 230 is protected for now, there are other bills attached to the NDAA. This includes the CASE Act as well as the felony streaming bill. This means that those who fight for digital rights have a lot to work on to try and undo the damage caused by those two pieces of legislation that would otherwise never pass.

Plenty of work left to do to to try and fix what this development breaks, but Section 230 is very likely surviving Trump.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.



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