Joe Biden Signs Defense Budget Bill Totaling $768.2 Billion Into Law
As part of the National Defense Authorization Act, President Joe Biden signed it into law on Monday, allowing $768.2 billion in military spending for 2022, which includes a 2.7 percent pay boost for service members.
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) provides a 5% increase in military expenditure and is the result of months of intensive discussions between Democrats and Republicans over issues ranging from improvements of the military justice system to COVID-19 vaccination requirements for soldiers.
Biden said in a statement that the act “provides vital benefits to military troops and their families while also improving access to justice,” adding that it “contains critical authorities to support our country’s national defense.”
It is estimated that the total cost will be $768.2 billion, which is $25 billion more than Biden first wanted from Congress, a previous proposal that was rejected by lawmakers from both parties because it was perceived as undermining U.S. attempts to stay up with China and Russia militarily.
The new legislation was passed earlier this month with bipartisan backing, with both Democrats and Republicans praising the final package for its accomplishments.
Provisions in the bill to revamp how the military justice system handles sexual assault and other related offenses were hailed by Democrats because they effectively remove prosecutorial jurisdiction over such crimes from the hands of military leaders.
Republicans, on the other hand, celebrated their victory in defeating an attempt to include women in the draft as well as the addition of a provision that prohibits dishonorable discharges for service personnel who refuse to receive the COVID-19 vaccination.
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As part of the Pacific Deterrence Initiative, the bill includes $7.1 billion in funding as well as a statement of congressional support for the defense of Taiwan, both of which are meant to combat China’s growing influence in the region.
In addition, $300 million will be allocated to the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative as a gesture of solidarity in the face of Russian aggression, and $4 billion will be allocated to the European Defense Initiative.
He also listed a number of clauses that his administration opposes because of what he describes as “constitutional problems or questions of construction,” according to his statement.
In particular, measures restricting the use of monies to transfer or release detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detention center, which the Biden administration is working to abolish, are among the planks.
“The provisions “unduly impair” the executive branch’s ability to decide when and where to prosecute detainees, as well as where to send them when they are released, according to Biden’s statement, and they could constrain U.S. negotiations with foreign countries over the transfer of detainees in a way that could undermine national security.
Furthermore, the law contains measures that prohibit the importation into the United States of goods manufactured in China using forced Uyghur labor, and it begins to lay out plans for a new Global War on Terror Memorial, which would be the latest addition to the National Mall.