Congress Passes $886 Defense Policy Bill

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Over two-thirds of the U.S. House of Representatives passed the $886 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which will be used for annual military spending and authorizes policies such as aid for Ukraine and pushback against China in the Indo-Pacific.

According to Reuters, the House approved the NDAA in a vote of 310-118, with strong support from   Republicans and Democrats. The measure, which also passed the Senate on Wednesday, now heads to President Joe Biden’s office for signature. 

Under the NDAA, troops would receive a pay raise of about 5.2 percent for the purchases of ships, ammunition, and aircraft. It also includes a four-month extension of a contested domestic surveillance authority, meaning lawmakers would be given more time to either reform or continue the program, known as Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

Although both the Senate and the House objected to the provision, it was not sufficient to derail the bill. On Wednesday, the Senate defeated an attempt to remove the FISA from the NDAA prior to voting on the measure. 

The bill authorizes $300 million for the fiscal years 2024 and 2025 to help Ukraine as part of the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative through the end of 2026. The amount is lower compared to the $61 billion that Biden asked Congress to approve for assistance to Ukraine amid the conflict with Russia that first took place in February 2022. 

Additionally, the final draft of the NDAA excluded provisions related to social issues, including abortion access and treatment of transgender service members. 

The emergency spending request remains stuck in Congress due to GOP members refusing to approve assistance for Ukraine unless Democrats agree to strengthen immigration law. Although Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy met with lawmakers in the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday to present his case for Biden’s funding request, he left the meetings without commitments from Republicans. 

Photo Courtesy: ©Getty Images/Im Yeongsik

Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.

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