If President Vetoes Defense Bill, Senate Likely to Override: Sen. Grassley

July 7, 2020 Updated: July 8, 2020

The defense funding package set for a vote at the end of July and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is warning that Congress would likely override a veto by President Trump if he declines to sign the huge defense funding legislation amid the dispute over renaming Army bases named for Confederate leaders.

While speaking with Iowa reporters on Monday, Grassley said he hoped Trump wouldn’t veto the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), over military base renaming conflict.

“If it came to overriding a veto, we’d probably override the veto,” Grassley told Iowa reporters. Grassley remarks were confirmed by a report in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier.

“There shouldn’t be a knee-jerk reaction to renaming bases. And I imagine that in my lifetime, there’s been a lot of bases that have had their names changed. I’m not aware of it. But the extent to which it’s a thoughtful process and not a knee-jerk reaction, I wouldn’t have any objection to it,” Grassley told reporters.

Trump has warned that he will veto the bill over Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s amendment to eliminate all confederate names from military bases and other assets over a three-year period from the passing of the NDAA.

“I will Veto the Defense Authorization Bill if the Elizabeth ‘Pocahontas’ Warren (of all people!) Amendment, which will lead to the renaming (plus other bad things!) of Fort Bragg, Fort Robert E. Lee, and many other Military Bases from which we won two World Wars, is in the Bill!” Trump said in a Tweet on June 30.

Earlier in June, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters that the President opposes renaming military bases and other assets and she quoted a tweet from the President.

“[M]y Administration will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations. Our history as the Greatest Nation in the World will not be tampered with. Respect our Military!” she read.

“These Monumental and very Powerful Bases have become part of a Great American Heritage, and history of Winning, Victory, and Freedom,” Trump also tweeted.

“The President will not be signing legislation that renames America’s forts, it’s important to note, you know Fort Bragg, for example, it’s one of the largest military installations. It’s home to 10s of thousands of brave American soldiers. And when you think of Fort Bragg we think of the brave soldiers that deployed from there,” McEnany added.

Past efforts to rename military installations have stalled on the grounds that these places represent an American tradition but on Tuesday Warren argued that these names represent an “ugly” past and the names of “traitors” should not be honored.

As part of the debate on the Military funding bill, Warren gave a speech on the Senate floor on June 30, detailing the reason for her proposal.

“This bill denies those honors to military leaders who killed U.S. soldiers in defense of the idea that black people are not people, but instead are property to be bought and sold,” Warren said.

While those like the President call the Confederate history, part of American tradition, Warren and the left say the confederate names and monuments represent a history of “white supremacy.”

Warren’s amendment stipulates that all names, symbols, displays, monuments, and paraphernalia that honor Confederate States of America, be removed no later than three years after the date of the enactment of the bill.

Republican Senators have offered their own amendment for the renaming of Confederate military assets. Sen. Tom Cotton’s (R-Ark.) amendment would commission a study and allow the Defense Secretary to choose which asset to rename. Cotton called Warren’s amendment “too broad” and Warren said in her speech, it is not time to study the problem but to take action.