House passes compromise defense bill, backing Pentagon budget boost

Lawmakers approved the legislation 363-70, which saw 169 Democrats join 194 Republicans in a blowout vote.

12/8/2021 6:35:00 AM

The $768 billion National Defense Authorization Act is heading to the Senate after weeks of scrambling and a bipartisan push that added $25 billion to the bill's price tag

Lawmakers approved the legislation 363-70, which saw 169 Democrats join 194 Republicans in a blowout vote.

By12/07/2021 10:02 PM ESTLink CopiedThe House passed a compromise $768 billion defense policy bill on Tuesday, endorsing a major increase to President Joe Biden's Pentagon budget after weeks of scrambling by top lawmakers to forge a deal on the legislation.

The final National Defense Authorization Act now heads to the Senate, which could pass the measure as soon as this week and send it to the White House for Biden's signature.The process of clinching a defense deal was a bumpy one. Leaders of the House Armed Services Committee scrambled to finalize the more than 2,000-page bill after efforts to pass the legislation stalled last week in the Senate in a partisan stalemate over amendment votes. With the normal legislative process short-circuited, committee leaders negotiated a compromise bill that was only unveiled Tuesday afternoon.

On the House floor ahead of the vote, lawmakers in both parties touted the legislation as a step forward in shifting the military toward a focus on China and Russia by helping the Pentagon shed aging weapons and invest in new technologies.The top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama, praised the bipartisan push to add $25 billion to the bill's price tag, a move he argued would stave off "irresponsible cuts to procurement and readiness."

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"Providing the authorities and resources our service members need to defend our nation and defeat our adversaries is the greatest responsibility we have here in Congress," Rogers said. "We accomplish that responsibility with the bill before us today."

The approval came despite opposition from some Democrats over the budget increase as well as several major policy provisions being dropped in negotiations even as Democrats control the House, Senate and White House.In the end, more Republicans backed the bill than Democrats. After winning a $25 billion increase in the bill's price tag and forcing several Democratic provisions out of the final bill, GOP lawmakers had a lot to like about the defense deal.

In a stunning reversal, negotiators dropped provisions that would require women to register for a military draft despite both House and Senate bills including the reform with bipartisan majorities. Provisions that are included in both chambers' bill are typically certain to pass.

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In the run up to the vote, members of the Congressional Black Caucus also expressed dissatisfaction that the bill's reforms to the military justice system don't go far enough to address racial disparities in the application of military law and extremism in the ranks.

Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Md.), a House Armed Services member, said he would oppose the final bill because it doesn't adequately address racial bias in the justice system or extremism, calling the bill an "unconscionable failure" by Democrats. Brown's provision to establish a Pentagon office of countering extremism was left out of the final bill.

"Supporting our troops does not require us to pass the NDAA simply because it includes important provisions such as an annual pay raise, it must also protect the Black men and women who are disproportionately the target of extremism and a biased military justice system," Brown said in a statement.

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House Armed Service Chair Adam Smith (D-Wash.), meanwhile, conceded not every lawmaker got their way in negotiations, but urged lawmakers to vote based on the provisions included in the bill."Those of you who didn't get what you wanted out of this, please look at what is in the bill and how important it is," Smith said.

In all, the bill would authorize $768 billion for national defense programs. Of that, $740 billion would go toward the Pentagon, a $25 billion increase from Biden's request.Republicans and Democrats in both the House and Senate had backed a higher Pentagon topline, arguing more defense spending is needed to match threats posed by China and Russia while keeping up with inflation.

But the bill only authorizes funding, and doesn't actually provide the military with any cash. Lawmakers will need to enact a full-year Pentagon appropriations measure to make the budget boost a reality.The bill also contains provisions to overhaul the military justice system aimed at combating sexual assault in the ranks, including the addition of special prosecutors outside the military chain of command to handle the prosecution of sex crimes, as well as kidnapping, murder and manslaughter.

Though advocates, led by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), praised the overhaul as a watershed victory in the fight against sexual assault in the ranks, the agreement doesn't remove the prosecution of all felonies from the chain of command. The change was spearheaded by Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who secured the provision in the Senate bill and argued the final bill "gutted" her proposal.

The deal also blocks states from using private funding for National Guard deployments to other states, aside from natural disaster response. The change comes after South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem accepted a private donation to fund a deployment of Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas this year.

The bill also authorizes funding for a variety of Pentagon programs and weapons systems.Lawmakers approved a $2 billion boost to the Biden administration's request for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative, increasing the program meant to beef up U.S. posture in the region and deter China to $7.1 billion.

The final bill approves a shipbuilding budget that would buy 13 new Navy ships, five more than the Pentagon requested.Negotiators also agreed to procure 85 F-35 fighters, matching the Pentagon's request. The bill authorizes 17 F-15EX jets, five more than the Air Force requested, and a dozen F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighters that the Navy didn't request.

The measure also green lights a 2.7 percent pay raise for troops.

Read more: POLITICO »

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It’s absolutely insane that we fund this year after year. Why. Why are we growing the budget? Bullish for bitcoin. How about we use that money for the actual PEOPLE who have served or are currently serving in the military the same financial benefits the senate and house get? Fucking gross. There's a cure for that...

Even though the price tag is twice as much as BBB, your headline didnt call this bill 'massive'. Weird. And while we are adding billions even the Armed Forces don't want, and it is only to keep the arms manufacturers happy, the families of our Armed Forces live in poverty and line up in lines at food banks. Our PRORECTORS need us. Email your Senator and Congress rep.

Pictured is our countrys biggest hypocrite DEFUNDPOLITICIANS

Omicron Covid variant poses greater risk for the unvaccinated, former White House advisor saysThere's reason to believe that current vaccines are going to be 'quite effective' in combating the effects of the omicron strain, says Andy Slavitt. This is becoming a massive fear mongering joke Of course it fkn does. Did the other variants just disappear?

I will promote your Business Website, Shopify Store, Blog, Books and any Links Order Now: And the Senate will pass it within minutes of receiving it, unlike voting rights, BBB or anything else. Sinemanchin won't say a word to reduce it. all that money zero wars won and people invade our country at will

Democrats just keep getting things done. Image that Politico! Does anyone even know what the additional $25 billion is for? We should be cutting not adding more to the budget. I saw a $200 billion cut from defense sounds good All hail the uniparty. Bipartisanship on a bloated military budget. SpeakerPelosi resign and retire already

Believe is essential I gave you my trust and you didn't break it, you are who you say you're Nichelle_1111 I'll keep letting people know about your goodness and guarantee business Nichelle_1111 What's the CBO score? But the real question here is why the US keeps losing wars with this huge budget every year?

House Republican posts photo of his family holding guns days after Michigan school shootingRep. Thomas Massie, R-K.Y., is facing backlash from Democrats after he posted a Christmas photo of his family smiling and posing with an assortment of guns just days after four teenagers were killed in a shooting at a Michigan high school. Democrats freaking out... How is that news? Well to be fair, any given day is usually less than 4 days from a mass shooting in the States, so he'd never be able to show off his manly manly guns, if that was the criteria. Stunning that these are the people who claim ownership of family values and faith.

The Industrial War Complex suckling at the teat of corporate welfare. Why is defense budget increasing when we are not at war for the first time in DECADES? Was better 2B invested for peace to the world Both Parties are so wasteful Why did I they provide money for items that were not requested? congressdotgov SenateDems SenateGOP you guys should be ashamed with these games you play with our money. No wonder people are tired of the 2 party system, SMH bums

What a waste. Let’s build schools and hospitals. And let’s give the people the same healthcare plan our senators have. Why do the royals get healthcare… from our tax money? Congress knows the one bill that should never go without is the defense bill. It’s a political death sentence from contractors to patriot groups. The NDAA is the only bill that has grown year after year without an exhausting CBO review.

Nancy is barely worth $100M. How is she supposed to like the US? They don't need more money. They are not fighting in Afghanistan anymore. And Syria has mostly been abandoned by the US. I’m ok with 25 billion if that means every service member has a safe home free from toxic mold (did they ever fix that?) I don’t understand building up an even larger arsenal of death machines when we aren’t technically at war with anybody and there are homeless hungry Americans

Not paid for...just added to the 30 trillion tab

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They don’t need the money, normal people do 'but how will we pay for it?' 🙄 Perspective: A few years ago, $20 billion is the number pegged by HUD to end homelessness. Even if we say that's doubled by now, there's zero reason we can't pull from DoD to do it. After all, the the bill is pretty deficit neutral, right, USCBO?

But forgiving student loan debt is too expensive. Always enough money for war. Is this thing ever gonna retire and take joe along? Gabriel_Tozzini Many of the DemocRats are the same people as the conversation RepubliCons! “Pro-life” America? Yeah right! Lol added Good What about all the bills for the PEOPLE?

White House announces diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics over human rights concernsBREAKING: The US will stage a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, the White House says. While no US government officials will attend, US athletes will still be allowed to compete. JustinTrudeau Toothless I like this one.

10 trillion over 10 years and nothing for homeless vets AND hundreds of vets will die of cancer from the VA refusing CDC are from burn pit victims... But Haliburton, who bribes both parties and murdered our troops making them protect empty 18 wheelers, get their contracts upped! This is the second time this year Congress has just tossed tens of billions of dollars on top of Defense spending just for good measure.

This is an authorization bill, not the appropriations bill. Here we go...

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White House announces diplomatic boycott of Beijing OlympicsThe White House announced a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, citing China’s persecution of ethnic Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang region and other human rights abuses US corporations need to pull out their sponsorship. Nike It’s a crime from our side to ignore Saudi Arabia (oil?) for unlawful killings and executions, people simply disappearing for criticising the House of Saudi. Beheading non violent offenders, allowing such a large part of the population to live in utter poverty etc griffin_ghia . Point of the games is to come together in peace & goodwill & to join in athletic competition. US leaders have difficulty with the concept of cooperation. Leaders are more comfortable with concepts of intimidation & domination. This is unhelpful for the well-being of our world