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US HOUSE PASSES $740-B DEFENSE BILL AS TRUMP FUMES

The US House of Representatives on Tuesday passed its version of the National Defense Authorization Act, a $740 billion bill setting policy for the Pentagon that President Donald Trump has threatened to veto over a provision removing Confederate names from military bases, Patricia Zengerle reported for Reuters early on Tuesday, July 22, 2020.

The Democratic-led House backed the measure by 295 to 125, paving the way for negotiations with the Republican-led Senate on a compromise version of the NDAA, which Trump would then sign or veto. Earlier Tuesday, the White House issued an official announcement that Trump would veto the bill if it required the Defense Department to strip the names of Confederate generals from US military bases.


“Section 2829 is part of a sustained effort to erase from the history of the Nation those who do not meet an ever-shifting standard of conduct,” the White House said in a statement deploring a “left-wing cultural revolution.” The White House said it also objected to provisions of the House NDAA deemed to impinge upon Trump’s authority, including limits on the use of funds in the war in Afghanistan and controls on deploying National Guard troops within the US. State and local leaders have objected to recent deployments of national guard troops during anti-racism demonstrations.


The Republican-led Senate is debating its version of the NDAA this week. The Senate bill also includes a plan to change the names of bases such as Fort Bragg and Fort Benning, which honor men who fought against U.S. troops 155 years ago during the Civil War. Their names, and statues honoring men who owned slaves or fought on the pro-slavery side, have been targeted in the protests over police brutality across the United States - and the world - sparked by the death of George Floyd, a Black man, while in police custody in May. Trump has called protesters “anarchists and agitators.”


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