Despite reports last week that the White House was looking to make a deal on the issue, President Donald Trump is threatening to veto the National Defense Authorization Act if it includes a provision that would require renaming military bases that honor Confederate leaders, NBC News reported Monday.
The NDAA – the annual bill that specifies the annual budget and expenditures for the Department of Defense – has passed every year for the past 59 years.
A veto is unlikely, though, since Sen. Mitch McConnell generally avoids bringing a bill that can’t be signed into law to the floor for a vote. "The president is not going to veto the defense bill and I can say that with almost absolute certainty," House Armed Services Chair Adam Smith (D-WA) said last week. "And the reason is because Mitch McConnell and Jim Inhofe are not going to send him a bill that he says he's going to veto."
If McConnell refuses to force the issue and Trump sticks to his guns, that leaves two options. Democrats could retreat and agree to remove the renaming provision, despite the fact that it had bipartisan support, while counting on President Biden to achieve the same end through executive action. Alternatively, the NDAA could simply wait for the next Congress in January, forcing lawmakers to start from scratch on the must-pass legislation.