Washington — President Trump threatened Tuesday to veto a must-pass annual defense policy bill unless Congress agrees to end a federal law that provides social media companies with a crucial legal shield.
Mr. Trump made his threat in a pair of late-night tweets, in which he said Congress must include a repeal of the law known as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act in the $740 billion National Defense Authorization Act for it to receive his signature. The president has for months been pressuring Congress to strip social media companies of the protections they receive under the 24-year-old law, claiming platforms like Twitter and Facebook censor and suppress conservative speech.
“Section 230, which is a liability shielding gift from the U.S. to ‘Big Tech’ (the only companies in America that have it – corporate welfare!), is a serious threat to our National Security & Election Integrity. Our Country can never be safe & secure if we allow it to stand,” Mr. Trump tweeted. “Therefore, if the very dangerous & unfair Section 230 is not completely terminated as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), I will be forced to unequivocally VETO the Bill when sent to the very beautiful Resolute desk.”
Mr. Trump’s 11th-hour demand comes as lawmakers from both parties and the White House are negotiating the terms of the final military package. The House and Senate passed with bipartisan support their own versions of the bill, which addresses weapons procurement, pay for service members and troop levels, this summer.
An earlier sticking point for the president was the inclusion in the bill of a provision that requires the Pentagon to rename bases and other military assets named for Confederate leaders. Mr. Trump threatened in July to kill the package if the measure was included.