Washington DC: The US House of Representatives controlled by Democrats dealt a blow to President Donald Trump on Monday by rejecting his veto of a $740.5 billion defense policy bill.

If the Senate follows suit as expected in the waning days of Trump’s presidency, it will be the first time one of his vetoes has been surmounted.

The Democratic-controlled House voted 322 to 87 to override Trump's veto of the $740.5 billion defense bill with 109 members of the President's own Republican Party siding with Democrats.

Trump rejected the defense bill last week, saying it failed to limit social media companies he claims were biased against him during his failed reelection campaign. Trump also opposes language that allows for the renaming of military bases that honor Confederate leaders.

Trump has offered a series of rationales for rejecting the defense bill. He urged lawmakers to impose limits on Twitter and other social media companies he claimed are biased against him, as well as to strip out language that allows for the renaming of military bases such as Fort Benning and Fort Hood that honour Confederate leaders. Trump also claimed without evidence that the biggest winner from the defense bill would be China.

A similar motion will be introduced in the Republican-majority Senate, where it will also have to gain two-thirds support to override the President's veto.

In a statement released after the vote, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi slammed Trump's veto as "reckless" and called on the president to "end his eleventh-hour campaign of chaos."

“The President must end his eleventh-hour campaign of chaos, and stop using his final moments in office to obstruct bipartisan and bicameral action to protect our military and defend our security,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement after the vote.

The House vote came a day after Trump caved to pressure from both Republicans and Democrats and reluctantly signed a $900 billion coronavirus relief and stimulus package that he had threatened to veto.

Voting to override Trump’s veto reflects a widening rift between the president and some congressional Republicans, who stood by him through previous conflicts, as his influence ebbs. More GOP lawmakers in recent weeks recognized Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential election, and many of them oppose Trump’s call for larger stimulus payments as part of pandemic relief.

(With inputs from agencies)