U.S. Senate backs $740 billion defense bill by veto-proof margin; voting continues

FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd transits alongside the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt while participating in Exercise Northern Edge 2019 in the Gulf of Alaska May 16, 2019. Picture taken May 16, 2019. U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Sean Lynch/Handout via REUTERS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - At least 75 members of the Republican-led U.S. Senate voted for a sweeping $740 billion annual defense bill as voting continued on Friday, a number larger than the two-thirds majority in the 100-member chamber that would be needed to defeat President Donald Trump’s promised veto.

The National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, has passed the U.S. Congress for 59 straight years. Since the measure passed the House by a similarly large margin, backers of the bill hope that Trump can be persuaded to change his position.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; editing by Jonathan Oatis