Senate Republicans aren’t shocked that President Donald Trump threatened to veto the annual defense policy bill because it contains a measure that would rename U.S. military bases named after Confederate soldiers, Politico reports.
Trump has repeatedly expressed his opposition to renaming military bases even if they pay homage to the Confederacy. Late Tuesday, he threatened to veto the bill on Twitter.
“It was expected,” Sen. Mike Rounds, R-SD, an Armed Services Committee member said of Trump’s veto threat. “You always want to be able to show your support for our military men and women, and that’s what this is about — providing protection for them.”
The proposal to rename bases, put forward by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., involves removing names of Confederate military figures from all U.S. bases, aircraft and other facilities and equipment within three years.
“The decision to remove the names of Confederate generals who took up arms against the U.S. in defense of slavery was a bipartisan decision that came out of the committee, and it’s going to stay in the defense budget,” Warren told Politico Wednesday. “The president can do what he wants, but it stays.”
A majority of Republican senators said they support the name changes, too.
“The NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) is so important and there are so many important elements in it that I don’t believe that alone should be a reason to even vote against it or veto it,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said.
“Ultimately, I don’t think the name of a facility should be something that’s divisive or offensive to people, especially if there are better alternatives to it,” Rubio added. “But it has to be through a process — a considered process.”
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., told Politico the bill won’t reach Trump’s desk for a few months.
“The veto would take place sometime probably in November,” Inhofe said. “And we have a long, long time between now and November. So we’ll see.”
But even if Trump vetoes the bill, there are likely enough votes for it to pass a veto-proof majority in both the House and Senate.
Another solution could be a proposal by Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., which would create a commission to address the issue of whether to rename the military bases. The amendment would need 60 votes to pass.
“I think a vote on that would solve this problem,” Hawley said.
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