U.S. President Joe Biden Signs $770 Billion Defense Bill

United States President Joe Biden on Dec. 27 signed the $770 billion military funding bill into law, the White House announced.

Biden signed S. 1605 or the National Defense Authorization Act, which he said “provides vital benefits and enhances access to justice for military personnel and their families, and includes critical authorities to support our country’s national defense.”

The legislation authorizes a 2.7% pay increase for military service members and civilian employees of the Defense Department.

The legislation also authorizes $27 billion for new Navy warships and $75.3 million to operate the Armed Forces Retirement Home.

However, Biden also raised concerns about certain provisions in the legislation, including Sections 1032 and 1033, citing “constitutional concerns or questions of construction.”

Section 1032 extends the prohibition on use of funds for transfer or release of detainees at U.S. Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to certain countries, while Section 1033 extends the prohibition on use of funds for transfer or release of the said detainees to the U.S.

“It is the longstanding position of the executive branch that these provisions unduly impair the ability of the executive branch to determine when and where to prosecute Guantánamo Bay detainees and where to send them upon release,” Biden said in a statement.

Biden further said that the provisions “could make it difficult to comply with the final judgment of a court that has directed the release of a detainee on a writ of habeas corpus” and “constrain the flexibility of the executive branch with respect to its engagement in delicate negotiations with foreign countries.”

Biden urged Congress, which passed the legislation earlier this month, to remove the restrictions “as soon as possible.”

Biden also noted his opposition to the use of open-air burn pits in military contingency operations outside the U.S.

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