WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the U.S. Senate voted 81-13 to override President Trump’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021.

With passage of the veto override measure, which was previously approved by the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 322-87, the NDAA for FY 2021 is now enacted into law.

The bipartisan defense policy bill authorizes funding levels for the U.S. Department of Defense and sets policies to equip, supply, and train our troops and provide for military families.  A summary of the NDAA is available here.

U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), the Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, says this bipartisan NDAA is crucial to national defense and Congress did the right thing by overriding President Trump’s veto. 

After the vote, Senator Reed issued the following statement:

“President Trump tried to make this vote a loyalty test and an overwhelming majority of U.S. Senators demonstrated their loyalty to the common defense and to the men and women of the United States Armed Forces who defend our nation.

“The truth is: both parties care about national security and this bill earned overwhelming bipartisan support because it strengthens our defense capabilities -- including our cyber defenses -- and enhances the military’s ability to respond to COVID-19 and a host of evolving threats and challenges.

“It was irresponsible for President Trump to veto this measure over issues that weren’t in the bill and had nothing to do with national defense.

“The one policy he had a major problem with that’s in the bill – renaming bases that honor Confederates who fought against America – I think he badly miscalculated on.  Instead of being a divisive campaign wedge issue, that provision earned strong bipartisan support, as well as backing from his own top civilian advisors and from within the military itself.  Racism has no place in the ranks.  We established a thoughtful process that includes community input.  I trained at Fort Bragg, the home of the 82nd Airborne.  I am confident that Fort Bragg and all these other posts and installations will be re-designated in a responsible manner in keeping with the Army’s values and the nation’s ideals.  There is certainly no shortage of great American patriots who fought for the United States who we could honor.

“President Trump repeatedly attempted to mislead the American public about what’s in this bill or what it does.  Senators across the political spectrum want to bring our troops home and responsibly end wars.  It’s a real shame President Trump failed to put forward a strategy to do so over the last four years.  But I hope the Biden Administration will do more to end conflict and bring sustainable peace.

“This vote was undoubtedly a bipartisan rebuke of President Trump.  He tried to use our troops as political pawns and distort what this bill is about.  In the end, he lost.  Plain and simple.

“This bill represents a bipartisan compromise that puts the nation’s interests ahead of either party.  Maybe that is why President Trump disliked the bill so much and vetoed it in the first place.  I commend members across the political spectrum for coming together to defend the nation.  That is what Congress is supposed to do and must continue to do.”

This marks the first time Congress has successfully voted in favor of overriding President Trump’s veto.