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Biden signs $768B defense policy bill that supersized his original Pentagon request

The bill rejects Biden’s $715 billion Pentagon funds request and as a substitute requires $740 billion for the Defense Division.

Whereas Biden’s request amounted to a navy spending improve above the present ranges, Republicans shortly panned the blueprint as inadequate to maintain tempo with inflation and navy advances by China and Russia. Most Democrats on Capitol Hill agreed, and each the Home and Senate backed additional funds will increase of their respective variations of the defense bill.

In all, the bill authorizes $768 billion for nationwide defense packages, which incorporates the Pentagon and nuclear weapons packages overseen by the Division of Vitality.

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However the defense policy bill solely authorizes spending, and does not truly allocate any cash. Lawmakers should nonetheless strike a deal to fund the federal government for the remainder of the fiscal yr for the defense improve to turn out to be actuality.

Within the meantime, the Pentagon and different federal businesses are frozen on the earlier yr’s funding ranges cemented beneath former President Donald Trump. For defense, that means complete funding that is decrease than even the extent that Biden proposed, and that Congress rejected as not sufficient.

The approved funds increase will translate into billions extra for weapons procurement, together with extra planes and ships than the Pentagon requested.

High Democrats have touted quite a lot of legislative victories within the closing bill, together with an overhaul of how the navy justice system handles sexual assault and different associated crimes. The ultimate laws additionally incorporates language, backed by Democrats, that bars non-public funding for cross-state Nationwide Guard deployments, besides throughout pure catastrophe emergency responses.

Nonetheless, Republicans see the laws as a conservative policy win primarily based not solely on what was included within the compromise bill, but in addition provisions that have been scuttled in negotiations.

Regardless of Democrats controlling each chambers of Congress and the White Home, the ultimate bill obtained extra votes from Republicans.

Along with seeing their proposed $25 billion funds improve adopted, GOP lawmakers cheered a provision that bars the navy providers from dishonorably discharging service members solely for refusing the Covid-19 vaccine.

Conservatives additionally scored a victory by torpedoing a proposal to require ladies to register for a navy draft. The growth of the Selective Service system was included in each Home and Senate payments and backed by bipartisan majorities, however Republicans in the end received the concession to strike it from the ultimate deal.

Republicans additionally touted the exclusion of a proposal, sponsored by Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Md.) and backed by Democrats, that would set up a Pentagon workplace devoted to countering extremism within the navy.

The dearth of extra expansive anti-extremism provisions and a broader overhaul to the navy justice system that removes commanders’ authority to prosecute all felonies — pushed by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) — was sufficient for some Democrats to oppose the ultimate bill.

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