TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Congress on Friday (Jan. 1) overrode U.S. President Donald Trump's veto of the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which contains two provisions supportive of Taiwan.
Just days after the House voted 322-87 to override Trump’s veto of the US$741 billion annual defense bill, the Republican-controlled Senate followed suit in an 81-13 vote on Friday. This was the first bipartisan congressional veto override the president has faced since he took office, according to CNA.
Since the votes were well above the two-thirds majorities needed in each chamber, the 2021 NDAA will be enacted into law.
The parts of the bill related to Taiwan include a section calling for continued arms sales to the country, a "timely review and response" to Taiwan's request for defense items, plus an expansion of bilateral military cooperation. The other section protects Taiwanese citizens from discrimination when seeking employment at international financial organizations.
The bill also establishes a "Pacific Deterrence Initiative" to enhance America’s military presence in the Indo-Pacific region and assist U.S. allies, and "deter against Chinese malign behavior." It also includes provisions to protect against Chinese industrial espionage.
Although U.S. lawmakers have widely viewed the bill as a way to deter threats from countries like China, Trump has complained about its legal protections for social media companies, which he claims were biased against him during the 2020 presidential election. He also said the bill restricted his ability to withdraw thousands of troops from Afghanistan and Germany.