ANI Photo | US Senate passes annual defence policy bill with USD 886 billion package

The US Senate approved the annual defence policy bill with a compromise 886 billion USD package that laid out how the pentagon will be funded through the next fiscal year, The Hill reported.
The vote to approve the National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA) was 87-13. Six Republicans and six Democrats voted against the bill: Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) also opposed it.
The National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA) is one of the largest bills passed annually by lawmakers and is a yearlong process for Congress.
The defence bill was finalized by conference negotiators in the House and Senate last week, after the chambers passed vastly different versions over the summer, with House Republicans slipping in provisions on the culture wars engulfing America.
The final bill dropped many of the controversial House amendments. An amendment to block the Pentagon’s abortion policy failed to make it into the NDAA, as did another preventing the Defence Department from funding gender-affirming surgery.
The Hill reported that the House lawmakers will next take up the legislation. The bill faces resistance in the House from far-right lawmakers who are opposed to the package, in part because it fails to include House-passed provisions to rid the Pentagon of what they say are “woke” policies.
In addition to keeping the Defence Department’s programs and policies funded, the defense bill will authorize tens of billions of dollars for aircraft and ships and give a historic 5.2 percent pay raise to troops.
The NDAA also targets bolstering U.S. national security abroad, with $11.5 billion slated to deter China in the Indo-Pacific region and another $800 million to support Ukraine.
Senate Majority Leader Chunk Schumer urged the senators to pass the NDAA as the US faces challenges across the globe, The Hill reported.
“At a time of huge trouble for global security, doing the defence authorization bill was more important than ever,” Schumer said on the Senate floor. “Passing the NDAA enables us to hold the line against Russia, stand firm against the Chinese Communist Party and ensure that America’s defences remain state-of-the-art.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also championed the NDAA for bolstering national security and ridding the Defence Department of cultural politics, The Hill reported.
“It will focus the Pentagon more squarely on tackling national security challenges instead of creating new ones with partisan social policies,” McConnell said.
The only major resistance to the NDAA in the Senate came from Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who said he would vote against the bill because it failed to include compensation for victims of radiation exposure in his state and extend those protections. He put up a couple procedural hurdles in its path to a final vote.
“When the government causes injury the government should make it right,” Hawley said this week. “It is wrong to let it expire, it is an injustice, it is a scar on the conscience of this body and on this nation.”
Hard-line Republicans, including Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), are vowing to vote against the NDAA in the House because those amendments are not included.
They are also upset about a short-term extension of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which allows for warrantless surveillance of foreigners abroad but is controversial because Americans can get swept up in the surveillance.
The Hill reported, some senators took to the Senate floor to protest the FISA extension, including Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah).
Ahead of the NDAA vote, an effort to remove the FISA Section 702 extension from the bill was defeated in a 35-65 vote. In remarks, Paul accused senators of trying to “rubber stamp this and look the other way” to allow FISA to continue without any reforms.
Lee said the American people deserve freedom from “warrantless searches.”
“The American people aren’t going to take this anymore,” he said. “The American people expect more, and the Constitution demands it.”
Other provisions of the NDAA may draw objections from Democrats, including one restricting critical race theory at military academies and another banning unauthorized flags on military bases, which Republicans have said would prohibit LGBTQ flags.
The Hill reported, the NDAA also directs the Pentagon to consider reinstating troops who were fired for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine and includes limitations on the Biden administration’s ability to build out Space Command headquarters in Colorado.

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