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Trump vetoes defense bill for troop withdrawal restrictions

Defense 06:26 December 24, 2020

By Byun Duk-kun

WASHINGTON, Dec. 23 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday vetoed the annual defense bill, partly citing its restrictions on the withdrawal of U.S. troops from South Korea.

Trump largely dismissed the annual defense budget bill for failing to accommodate his "America first" policy.

"I am returning, without my approval, H.R. 6395, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021," Trump said in a message to the House of Representatives that was released by the White House.

"The Act fails to include critical national security measures, includes provisions that fail to respect our veterans and our military's history, and contradicts efforts by my Administration to put America first in our national security and foreign policy actions. It is a 'gift' to China and Russia," added Trump.

The U.S. president also took issue with sections that would limit the government's ability to withdraw or draw down U.S. troops from countries such as South Korea.

The bill, which passed both the House and Senate earlier this month, states, "None of the funds authorized to be appropriated by this Act may be used to reduce the total number of members of the Armed Forces serving on active duty who are deployed to South Korea below 28,500."

Trump argued the Act was unconstitutional by seeking to limit his power as commander-in-chief.

"Numerous provisions of the Act directly contradict my Administration's foreign policy, particularly my efforts to bring our troops home," he said.

"Over bipartisan objections, however, this Act purports to restrict the President's ability to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, Germany, and South Korea. Not only is this bad policy, but it is unconstitutional," added Trump.

The Act, however, passed both houses of the Congress with veto-proof margins -- that is, with more than two-thirds of votes.

Both the House and Senate are already scheduled to convene next week to override the veto.

Trump earlier said the defense bill would be one of the first he would veto this year.


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