Loeffler, Perdue back defense bill despite base renaming provision

The National Defense Authorization Act includes a provision that would start the process of renaming Georgia's Fort Gordon base. AJC file photo.
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The National Defense Authorization Act includes a provision that would start the process of renaming Georgia's Fort Gordon base. AJC file photo.

Credit: U.S. Army

WASHINGTON — Both of Georgia’s U.S. senators were part of an overwhelming majority who voted in favor of a sweeping defense policy bill even though it could be vetoed by President Donald Trump.

Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler said they join Trump in opposing language that begins the process of renaming military installations named after Confederate leaders. In Georgia, that affects Fort Benning and Fort Gordon.

Perdue and Loeffler released a joint statement after Friday’s vote on the National Defense Authorization Act that said they supported the bill because of its upsides for U.S. troops and bases.

“This critical defense bill fully funds our military, gives our troops a significant pay raise, prioritizes our military families and continues to improve military housing,” the statement said. “While there were several provisions we would have changed, our main mission is to support our military.”

The final Senate vote was 84-13, enough support to override a veto. The House passed the same measure earlier this week via another veto-proof majority.

The Senate vote sets up a crucial decision for Trump on whether he will allow the NDAA to become law or follow through on his promises to veto. The defense bill usually rises beyond partisanship and has been signed into law for 59 consecutive years.

In addition to opposing the base renaming language, Trump also threatened to veto the bill if clauses were not inserted to address social media companies and their ability to censor users. Lawmakers refused, saying the issue was unrelated.

Loeffler and Perdue said they will work on separate legislation to address Trump’s concerns.

The Senate also used a voice vote Friday to approve a second resolution that keeps the government funded for another week. That pushes back a deadline to approve a spending plan and avoid a federal shutdown to Dec. 18.

Without speedy approval, most government workers will be locked out at the end of the day.

ExploreGeorgia lawmakers strongly back bill that would remove Confederate names from bases