The $740 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passed both houses of Congress with more than the two-thirds majority needed to override a presidential veto last week. The Senate vote was 84-13. The House vote was 335-78, reported Reuters.
The measure includes three telecom bills of interest. The Spectrum IT Modernization Act (S. 3717) will require the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and other federal agencies to outline a plan for modernizing the information technology infrastructure used to manage federal spectrum.
The USA Telecommunications (ORAN) Act (S. 3189) would allocate more than $1 billion to invest in Western-based alternatives to Huawei and ZTE. It would speed development of an open-architecture model, O-RAN, that allows alternative vendors to enter the market for specific network components, rather than having to compete with Huawei and ZTE end-to-end.
The Reliable Emergency Alert Distribution Improvement (READI) Act of 2020 (S. 2693) will ensure more people receive relevant emergency alerts on their mobile phones, televisions, and radios as well as explore new ways of alerting the public through online video and audio streaming services. It would track and study false alerts when they occur, and improve the way states plan for emergency alerts.
Trump vowed to veto the defense authorization unless lawmakers impose limits on social media companies he said were biased against him during the election. On Sunday, he repeated his veto threat, setting the stage for a fight with Congress when lawmakers are racing to reach a compromise on more coronavirus relief, according to Reuters.
If he does veto the defense bill, Congress could cut short its Christmas recess to hold an override vote.
“I think we can override the veto, if in fact he vetoes,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, (D-MD). “I hope he does not veto. I hope he reconsiders. And I think he will get substantial pressure [from Republicans] that, you know, you don’t want to put the defense bill at risk.″
The defense measure guides Pentagon policy and cements decisions about troop levels, new weapons systems and military readiness, military personnel policy and other military goals. Many programs, including military construction, can only go into effect if the bill is approved.
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