United States lawmakers have agreed to authorize a massive defense bill that was released on Tuesday that will have a total funding of $770 billion with a proposed $300 million to support Ukraine's military and a statement that pledges assistance for Taiwan against China.
However, officials did not include some measures that received strong support from Congress, such as a proposal to enforce mandatory sanctions over Russia's Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and a plan to subject women into the military for the first time in the history of the United States.
National Defense Bill
The defense plan called the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, authorized $770 billion in military spending, an amount that is $25 billion more than what United States President Joe Biden requested and roughly 5% more than the budget given last year.
The new plan also includes a 2.7% pay hike for military personnel and will result in more purchases of aircraft and Navy ships. The equipment will be used to send a signal to Russia and China as well as become cornerstones for strategies for dealing with geopolitical threats, Reuters reported.
The bill will now move on to the Senate, where officials will most likely vote on it later this week before President Biden gets a chance to sign it into law. The bill received overwhelming bipartisan support, tallying a final vote of 363-70, among the supporters, 163 are Democrats and 194 are Republicans.
On the other hand, 51 Democrats and 19 Republicans voted in opposition to the bill while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was the only one who did not vote. Leaders from both chambers agreed on the final version of the bill, which contains revisions to how sexual assault and harassment are prosecuted and handled within the military.
Additionally, the $300 million military aid for Ukraine is $50 million more than what was proposed in the budget request. The massive bill targets various issues that Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has been prioritizing since he took the position in the department in January, CNN reported.
Massive $770 Billion Funding
The provisions that were not included in the bill despite gaining massive support from Congress include a broad reform of the military justice system, requiring women to register with the Selective Service, and the repeal of the Iraq War authorization. The decision to leave the provisions out is most likely due to lawmakers in the House and Senate racing to agree on a compromise on the measure.
Due to the omission of the various provisions, the bill received criticisms from several lawmakers despite many others cheering the legislation as comprehensive and historic. The final bill was put together behind closed doors by leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services committees.
Several groups of lawmakers have protested against the bill because of its rushed approach to have a compromise between the House and Senate. Many of the opposing parties are those that are hoping the bill would take bolder steps to revise the American military's culture and make a more equitable environment for females and minorities, the Washington Post reported.