The U.S. Senate passed the annual defense policy legislation on Wednesday, and it will now head to President Joe Biden’s desk.
The upper chamber voted 89-10 on Wednesday to pass the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, which allocated roughly $770 billion to the Pentagon. The House passed the bill last week.
HOUSE PASSES $768 BILLION DEFENSE BILL
Congress provided $25 billion more than Biden sought and another $27.8 billion for nuclear weapon activities that technically fall under the Department of Energy, according to a summary of the final legislation.
“I am pleased that the Senate has voted in an overwhelming, bipartisan fashion to pass this year’s defense bill,” Senate Armed Services Chairman Jack Reed said in a statement. “Our nation faces an enormous range of security challenges, and it is more important than ever that we provide our military men and women with the support they need to keep Americans safe.”
Republicans were able to get a handful of concessions from the Democrats after forcing them back to the negotiating table.
An amendment that would’ve required women to enlist in the draft, which some Republicans opposed, was stripped from the bill, as was one that would have created the Office of Countering Extremism, which they feared would be used to target conservatives.
Republicans were also able to add a provision that prevents military personnel who get terminated for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine from getting discharged under less than the general designation.
“For the 61st year now, Congress has fulfilled our constitutional duty to provide for the common defense by passing the National Defense Authorization Act," Armed Services ranking member Jim Inhofe said. "This bill provides our military with the resources and authorities they need to defend our country — which is more important now than it’s ever been before, at least in my lifetime."
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"This bill sends a clear message to our allies — that the United States remains a reliable, credible partner — and to our adversaries — that the U.S. military is prepared and fully able to defend our interests around the world," he added. "But most importantly, it sends a strong message of support and gratitude to our servicemembers and their families, who sacrifice so much and deserve the best."