House Delivers Defense Deal To Biden

The Republican-led House on December 14 overwhelming passed the $886 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which quickly went to the White House for President Biden’s signature, NBC News reported.

The Senate passed the final version of the NDAA on Wednesday, December 13 with overwhelming bipartisan support, 87 to 13.

The NDAA easily met the two-thirds majority vote the House requires to pass the annual military spending measure and send it to the president for his signature, in a 310 to 118 vote, with 45 Democrats and 73 Republicans voting against it.

The nearly 3,100-page bill authorizes a record $886 billion in military spending, a 3 percent increase over last year’s NDAA.

Earlier this year, the Senate and House had each passed a separate version of the NDAA, with the House version including the controversial amendments introduced by Republican lawmakers like restrictions on abortion and medical treatment for transgenders in the military that had been included in the earlier version passed by the House.

The final version was a compromise reached between the two chambers and did not include the more controversial amendments.

The bill also includes a 4-month extension on Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that was set to expire at the end of December. The extension will allow lawmakers more time to debate possible reforms to the domestic surveillance program. While the extension faced harsh objections both in the House and Senate, it was not enough to stop the extension from being approved.

The NDAA includes a measure to extend the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative through the end of 2026 and authorizes $300 million for the initiative both in this fiscal year and the next.

According to a House Armed Services Committee summary, the bill also establishes a special inspector general to oversee how the aid to Ukraine is being spent.