Congress approves annual defense spending bill ahead of holiday break

December 14, 2023

The House on Thursday passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) as required every year to continue funding for the U.S. military. 

The $866 billion in defense spending will include a 5.2% pay raise for troops—the biggest raise for service members in decades. The bill also authorizes continued funding for Ukraine as it fights its war against Russia, and it extends a foreign surveillance program that FBI director Chris Wray has called crucial for combating cyber crime and terrorism, though critics have asserted that the program suffers from a history of abuse by authorities.

The bill cleared in the House by a vote of 310-118, though some far-right Republicans  had voiced opposition to continuing the surveillance program, as well as to the bill’s omission of several culture-war amendments that they’d championed regarding abortion programs, diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, and transgender care for service members. 

The bill has already passed int the Senate by a vote of 87-13. It next heads to President Biden’s desk for his signature.

Congressional lawmakers leave for their holiday break on Friday, and will be out of office until after the new year.

When they’ll return they’ll have just 10 days to vote on funding for some government programs under a January 19 stopgap funding deadline set by House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA). Other programs won’t run out of money until February 2.

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