Home Economy Senate passes defense policy bill void of most GOP culture-war demands

Senate passes defense policy bill void of most GOP culture-war demands


The Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act early Dec. 21, a $740 billion policy bill that was largely void of the GOP-backed culture-war demands that Democratic critics had complained for months would be included.

The NDAA was passed in a vote of 84-13. The bill had been prepared for several months, without hangups other years from controversial amendments on hot button issues, such as abortion and religious liberty. The bill had largely been negotiated ahead of time by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and top Armed Services Committee members.

The bill contains no new nuclear weapons spending, but a 3% pay raise for service members, and authorizes $1.5 billion to build up military infrastructure and strengthen U.S. competitiveness with China. It also includes provisions for protecting national parks and monuments, as well as a Rare Earths Strategy to defeat out China’s stranglehold on materials used in some key military systems.

While the bill did not contain controversial details often found in NDAA bills in the past, there will be opponents to provisions such as $1 billion for fighter jets to Saudi Arabia. Other provisions included creating an independent commission to evaluate the Navy’s culture and mission, funding to bolster military housing, expanding protections against harassment and assault in the Armed Forces, and mandating the use of modern cybersecurity.

In the end, the NDAA was able to pass with broad bipartisan support, free of the wishing list of GOP-backed culture war items and establish a more modern and comprehensive approach to defending the nation.

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