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Trump Vetoes Defense Bill With Montana Priorities

Corin Cates-Carney
Montana Public Radio

President Donald Trump Wednesday followed through on his threat to veto the national defense bill, setting up a possible veto override vote in Congress. 

Trump called on lawmakers to include limits on social media companies he claimed are biased against him and conservatives. He has previously said the biggest winner of the defense bill is China.

The bill includes a provision from Montana Senators that would expand health benefits for veterans exposed to Agent Orange, along with investments for the Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls and new aircraft for the Montana Air National Guard.

Democratic U.S. Senator Jon Tester, in an emailed statement, called the President’s veto a "political stunt."  Tester also said it "undermines our national security, defense installations in Montana and across the globe."

Tester called on Congress to override the veto. 

A spokesperson for Republican U.S. Senator Steve Daines said the Senator believes the national defense bill is a bipartisan effort that is critical for national security and strengthening Montana’s defense priorities. The spokesperson for Daines voiced the Senator’s support to address social media laws Trump has been critical of. 

Daines’ office did not provide a “yes” or “no” answer to MTPR’s question about whether or not Daines supports overriding the President’s veto. 

A call to Republican Congressman and Governor elect Greg Gianforte’s congressional office in Helena was not immediately returned. 

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Corin Cates-Carney is the Flathead Valley reporter for MTPR.