Politics

President Biden officially signs $768.2 billion defense spending bill into law

U.S. President Joe Biden recently signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act. The spending bill will authorize $768.2 billion in funding for the military, which includes a 2.7 percent pay raise for service members in the upcoming year. 

In a statement on Monday, Biden said, “The Act 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 NDAA will allow a 5 percent increase in military spending and comes as a result of heated negotiations between Democrats and Republicans regarding issues ranging from reforms of the military justice system to coronavirus vaccine requirements for military personnel. 

President Biden had previously requested $25 billion less from Congress than the package that was eventually passed. His original ask was rejected by members on both sides of the aisle due to concerns it would undermine American efforts to stay on pace militarily with Russia and China.

The current form of the bill passed earlier in December with bipartisan support as Democrats and Republicans alike counted the Act as a win.

Right-leaning members praised the bill’s effort to add women to the draft, as well as a provision included that bars dishonorable discharges for soldiers who refuse the COVID-19 vaccine. On the other hand, left-leaning members lauded sections of the bill overhauling the military justice system regarding sexual assault and other related crimes. 

The NDAA includes $7.1 billion set aside for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative and a statement of congressional support on behalf of the defense of Taiwan. The measures are intended to offset China’s influence in the region.

Another $300 million was appropriated for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which is meant to show support to Ukraine as Russia sent troops to the Ukrainian-Russian border. 

ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: AP NEWS

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