The US House of Representatives votes Tuesday on the defense budget, Trump threatens a presidential “veto” and intends to sign an order giving priority to Covid vaccination for Americans

US President Donald Trump intends to sign an executive order that gives priority in distributing the emerging anti-Coronavirus vaccine to those living in the United States before exporting the doses to other countries.

The Trump administration has described this as part of the president’s commitment to the “America First” policy, which is a pillar of the White House’s current approach to issues such as foreign affairs, trade and immigration.

A senior US administration official told reporters that the order was due to be signed later Tuesday.

As part of that executive order, Trump will also assign the State Department to work with other countries to purchase doses of vaccines from the United States, in a way that does not conflict with the domestic distribution. 

There is also a donation plan for poor countries.

Officials assured that the doses will be given free of charge to people who live in the United States.

“No American will ever pay a penny out of his pocket,” the administration official said.

The US House of Representatives will vote on Tuesday on a comprehensive defense spending bill, one of three major pieces of legislation to come before Congress this month, but the defense budget faces a potential “veto” from outgoing President Donald Trump.

Mac Thornberry, the chief Republican of the Armed Forces Committee and the main supporter of the new budget, which is worth 740.5 billion dollars, said that its passage would facilitate the approval of the federal budget and a second stimulus package for the economy suffering from the repercussions of the Covid-19 crisis.

“The stronger the vote, the less likely it is to deal with a veto later,” he told reporters.

However, Democratic Committee Chairman Adam Smith was more clear when he said that if the president vetoed the “National Defense Authorization Act”, the MPs would return to vote “for its champions”.

The annual defense budget for 2021 is expected to be approved in the House and Senate this week, providing a 3 percent increase in military salaries.

In July, two separate versions of the law were passed in the House and Senate, with more than two-thirds of the votes needed to avoid a presidential “veto”.

Trump said that he would withdraw his threat to use the “veto” if lawmakers removed the clause on changing the names of military bases that honor the symbols of the leaders of the American Confederation.

He also called for adding an article abolishing the law known as “Article 230” that protects social media from liability for what users post on their platforms.

Thornberry said, however, that the defense spending bill should not be put on hold due to political disputes unrelated to it.

He pointed out that “the issue of Article 230 must be addressed, but in another place and in a different way”.

Other Republicans have also indicated their willingness to reject the president’s demands.

Republican Senator Bill Cassidy told Fox News Sunday, “I tend to always vote for soldiers and for our national security”.

Another sticking point is opposition to Trump’s defense budget bill, announced in July, to reduce the number of US forces in Germany.