US House of Representatives passes 2021 defense budget

US House of Representatives passes 2021 defense budget
# 09 December 2020 09:06 (UTC +04:00)

The House of Representatives of the US Congress voted on Tuesday (Wednesday Moscow time) to approve the draft defense budget for fiscal year 2021, which began on October 1, APA reports citing TASS.

The $740-billion defense budget envisages allocating $635.5 billion for the Pentagon’s basic needs, $26.6 billion - for national security programs ran by the Department of Energy and $69 billion for overseas operations.

The document also envisages tougher sanctions against Russia’s Nord Stream 2 and TurkStream pipeline projects.

It also stipulates sanctions against Turkey for purchasing S-400 air defense systems from Russia.

The draft budget also allocates $250 million for military assistance to Ukraine.

The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives and the Republican-dominated Senate prepared their versions of the draft defense budget for fiscal year 2021. In order to reconcile the two versions, a special commission comprising members of both chambers has been set up. The coordinated document was prepared last week.

The document received support from two thirds of the House of Representatives, needed to override the expected presidential veto.

The draft is yet to be considered by the US Senate in the next few days and, if passed, will go to US President Donald Trump for signing. It is expected to win support from two thirds of Senators as well.

The outgoing president earlier vowed to veto the document. His major objection is that it does not include the abolition of a law known as Section 230, which protects social media websites from lawsuits for hosting, deleting or moderating user-generated content on their platforms.

Moreover, Trump opposes the bill’s section that introduces obligatory renaming of US military bases that honor Confederate heroes of the US Civil War (1861-1865) and orders elimination of all other symbols of the pro-slavery South.

The US president also criticized the bill for restrictions regarding the US military presence abroad.