FACT CHECK: Did Congress Hide Language That ‘Nullifies’ The Insurrection Act In The COVID Relief And Government Spending Package?
An Instagram post claims Congress hid language that “nullifies” the Insurrection Act in the $2.3 trillion pandemic aid and government spending package.
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The COVID-19 relief and government spending package does not mention the Insurrection Act. An amendment to modify the Insurrection Act was introduced to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021, but the provision was not included in the version sent to President Donald Trump’s desk earlier this month.
Trump on Sunday signed into law a $2.3 trillion COVID-19 aid and government spending package, the White House announced. The legislation, which pairs $900 billion in pandemic relief with $1.4 trillion in government funding, had been passed by both chambers of Congress on Dec. 21, CBS News reported.
Facebook and Instagram users have been claiming Congress included in the package some language that “nullifies Trump’s use of the Insurrection Act.” The claim has also spread on Twitter, where former Florida congressional candidate Chuck Callesto included in a now-unavailable tweet an image that he suggested shows the “hidden” provision. The Insurrection Act, which has been amended several times since 1807, gives the president the power to deploy the military within the U.S. to maintain order in some circumstances, according to NPR.
There is no provision about the Insurrection Act in COVID-19 stimulus and government spending bill. Check Your Fact searched the 5,593-page bill and didn’t find a single mention of the Insurrection Act in it.
The image Callesto and other social media users shared along with the claim comes from the GovTrack page for an amendment Democratic Texas Rep. Veronica Escobar introduced to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (NDAA), a bill shorter than the coronavirus aid and government spending package. Escobar’s amendment to the NDAA sought to “require certifications be made to Congress when the President deploys active duty military within the United States during civil unrest by amending the Insurrection Act in Title 10, Chapter 13 of U.S. Code,” according to its description on Congress.gov.
The House passed Escobar’s amendment in July. However, the provision did not appear in the version of the NDAA sent to Trump’s desk, according to the text of the legislation and The Hill. (RELATED: Did Donald Trump Tweet That He Has ‘Declared Martial Law’?)
Trump vetoed the NDAA on Dec. 23, saying in his announcement that it “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.” The House is set to vote Monday on overriding Trump’s veto, the Wall Street Journal reported.
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