Politics|Senate Passes $768 Billion Defense Bill, Sending It to Biden
Lawmakers successful some parties linked arms successful an overwhelming ballot authorizing an summation successful the Pentagon’s fund of astir $24 cardinal much than President Biden requested.
Dec. 15, 2021, 12:19 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON — The Senate connected Wednesday passed a $768 cardinal defence bill, sending authorities to President Biden that volition summation the Pentagon’s fund by astir $24 cardinal much than helium requested.
The bill, which angered antiwar progressives who had hoped Democrats’ unified power of Washington would pb to important cuts successful subject spending, passed overwhelmingly connected a 89-10 vote. It includes important increases for initiatives intended to antagonistic China and bolster Ukraine, arsenic good arsenic for much ships, jets, and combatant planes than the Pentagon requested.
The lopsided votes, some successful the Senate and the House, which passed the authorities past week, underscored the bipartisan committedness successful Congress to summation national spending connected defence initiatives, arsenic lawmakers cited rising threats from China and Russia and previewed a looming contention implicit subject technology.
“Our federation faces an tremendous scope of information challenges,” said Senator Jack Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island, and the president of the Armed Services Committee. “To that end, this measure makes large progress. It addresses a roadworthy scope of pressing issues from strategical contention with China and Russia, to disruptive technologies similar hypersonics, A.I. and quantum computing, to modernizing our ships, craft and vehicles.”
That absorption — shifting attraction distant from connected the crushed conflicts successful the Middle East successful favour of a renewed attraction connected Beijing and Moscow — echoes the overseas argumentation imaginativeness Mr. Biden outlined this summertime arsenic helium ended America’s 20-year war successful Afghanistan.
But adjacent arsenic Congress embraced that approach, members could not bring themselves to judge Mr. Biden’s petition to support subject spending fundamentally flat, arsenic some Democrats and Republicans alternatively linked arms successful enactment of important increases.
The authorities contains a 2.7 percent wage summation for the troops, and a painstakingly negotiated compromise to portion subject commanders of authority implicit intersexual battle cases and galore different superior crimes. The caller proviso places specified crimes nether autarkic subject prosecutors successful a determination that had agelong been opposed by subject leaders and presidents. Both Mr. Biden and Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III endorsed the shift earlier this year.
But what was omitted from the authorities was conscionable arsenic significant. The defence argumentation measure has typically been considered a must-pass item, and the House and the Senate usually trade and walk their ain bills separately, considering dozens of amendments on the way, earlier negotiating a compromise version.
This year, the process collapsed aft the Senate neither passed its ain defence measure nor considered immoderate amendments. Top legislature officials alternatively met down closed doors successful caller days to cobble unneurotic a measure that could rapidly walk some chambers earlier the extremity of the year.
Stripped from the authorities was a measurement requiring women to registry with the Selective Service System for the archetypal clip successful American history, arsenic good arsenic caller sanctions connected a Russian state pipeline, Nord Stream 2.
Leaders of the equipped services committees besides excluded a House-passed proviso to repeal the 2002 instrumentality authorizing the penetration of Iraq, which has been stretched by aggregate administrations to warrant subject enactment astir the world. Repealing the authorization had been expected to triumph wide bipartisan backing successful the Senate, portion of a growing propulsion underway successful Congress to reassert itself connected matters of warfare and bid and rethink statesmanlike powers.
But that statement was pushed disconnected for different time amid different disputes.
Also scrapped was a provision that would spot visa bans connected immoderate overseas individuals that American quality officials recovered liable for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi dissident and Washington Post columnist, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Proponents of the authorities argued that contempt the choppy process, senators had yet agreed to backmost important investments to support subject supremacy.
“The information concern with some China and Russia has gotten acold worse since the Armed Services Committee archetypal precocious this measure backmost successful July,” said Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, the apical Republican connected the Armed Services Committee. “It’s gotten worse each fewer days, surely each week. I can’t deliberation of a much indispensable measure to walk close now.”
“I cognize defence isn’t President Biden’s apical priority, but we showed it is simply a bipartisan precedence successful this Congress,” Mr. Inhofe added.
The measure includes respective provisions requiring that the medication supply much reports to Congress connected Afghanistan, including 1 requesting regular briefings that measure the surveillance and reconnaissance capableness of the United States to behaviour counterterrorism operations there.
The yearly defence measure earmarks spending priorities for the Pentagon’s fund but does not supply the backing to instrumentality the policies it sets. That process is carried retired done the defence appropriations process, which is inactive ongoing.