Trump threatens veto of Confederate names defense bill, Afghan policy

United States President Donald Trump talks about the legislation for additional aid to the coronavirus in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, USA, July 20, 2020. REUTERS / Leah Millis

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Tuesday threatened to veto this year’s National Defense Authorization Act, opposing plans to strip Confederate names of military bases, limit spending in Afghanistan and other provisions he considers that limit their authority.

The comprehensive $ 740 billion NDAA sets a policy for the Department of Defense. It’s been 59 years in a row, one of the few major laws considered “mandatory” because it governs everything from salary increases for troops to how many planes to buy or how best to compete with rivals like Russia and China.

The Republican-led Senate and Democrat-led House of Representatives are debating amendments to the NDAA this week. Each of the two houses will pass a version of the bill and then present a compromise version that, if passed, would be sent to Trump to sign or veto later this year.

A Pentagon spokesman said he hoped Congress and the White House would resolve their differences. “They understand the importance of the NDAA, and we are confident that … the NDAA will be signed and implemented in time so that we can have a budget for our forces,” he said.

Trump had already promised to veto the NDAA over a provision requiring the military to rename bases named after Confederate military leaders, who fought against US forces during the Civil War.

The names of those bases, and statues honoring men who owned slaves or fought on the pro-slavery side, have been the target of anti-racism protests across the United States, and around the world, since George Floyd was killed by the police in Minneapolis in May. .

The Senate on Tuesday defeated an NDAA amendment that would have blocked the transfer from the Pentagon to local police of military-grade equipment that has been used against protesters.

Reports by Patricia Zengerle, Lisa Lambert, David Brunnstrom and Patricia Zengerle; additional reports from Idrees Ali; Written by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Chris Reese and Dan Grebler

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