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Congressional override of Trump defense veto cements restoration of two attack subs

Congress’ recent override of President Trump’s veto of the annual defense policy bill makes it official: two Virginia-class attack submarines will continue to be built annually.

The $740 billion bill authorizes two attack submarines to be built — the status quo since 2011.

U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, whose district includes submarine manufacturer Electric Boat, declared the restoration of the second submarine a win in a statement following the Senate's veto.

Courtney spent much of last year working to convince members of the Trump administration, which cut an attack submarine in its budget proposal last year, and his colleagues in the House to restore the boat.

“We’re starting the New Year with a big win for our U.S. Navy and for eastern Connecticut — the President’s attempt to veto the bipartisan NDAA has officially been voted down, and construction of the crucial second Virginia-class submarine has once and for all been restored in 2021,” he said.

The Senate voted 81-13 to override Trump’s veto, which followed an earlier 322-87 override vote in the House. Congress has now passed the measure, which guides defense policy, cementing decisions about troop levels, new weapons systems and military readiness, personnel policy and other military goals, for 60 straight years.

Trump objected to this year's bill, threatening to veto the measure at the 11th hour, because it failed eliminate liability protection for social media companies he claimed were biased against him during his reelection campaign — an issue both Democrats and Republicans said should not be covered under the defense policy bill but through other avenues in Congress.

The president also opposed a provision that allows for the renaming of military bases that honor Confederate leaders. Under the bill, the 10 Army installations honoring Confederate generals must be renamed within the next three years, and all "names, symbols, displays, monuments, and paraphernalia that honor or commemorate the Confederate States of America" must also be removed.

j.bergman@theday.com

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