U.S. Senate Passes $768 Billion Defense Bill

The United States Senate passed on Dec. 15 a $768 billion defense spending bill, sending it to President Joe Biden to sign it into law.

By a vote of 89 to 10, the Senate passed the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act after it passed the House of Representatives earlier this month.

“I am pleased that the Senate has voted in an overwhelming, bipartisan fashion to pass this year’s defense bill. Our nation faces an enormous range of security challenges, and it is more important than ever that we provide our military men and women with the support they need to keep Americans safe,” Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed said in a statement.

The legislation outlines the policy agenda for the Defense Department and the U.S. military and introduced several changes to the military justice system to tackle cases of sexual assault and harassment.

The legislation includes an increase to the Pentagon’s budget by roughly $24 billion more than Biden requested and a 2.7% pay increase for military service members and civilian employees for the U.S. government’s largest agency.

The legislation also includes nearly $28 billion for nuclear weapons programs, $300 million in military aid to the Ukrainian Security Assistance Initiative, and $7.1 billion to ramp up the U.S. position against China.

Furthermore, the legislation authorizes $4 billion for the European Deterrence Initiative, which aims to deter Russian aggression in Europe.

The legislation also establishes a “multi-year independent Afghanistan War Commission” to analyze the war in Afghanistan after the U.S. military withdrew its troops in August.

The legislation, however, does not contain a repeal of the nearly two-decade-old war resolution that allowed for the U.S. military to invade Iraq.

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