WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden enacted the National Defense Authorization Act, authorizing $ 768.2 billion in military spending, including a 2.7% pay hike for the military, for 2022.
The NDAA authorizes a 5% increase in military spending and is the product of intense negotiations between Democrats and Republicans on issues ranging from reforms of the military justice system to COVID-19 vaccine requirements for soldiers.
“The law provides vital benefits and improves access to justice for service members and their families, and includes authorities essential to support our country’s national defense,” Biden said in a statement Monday.
The $ 768.2 billion price tag is $ 25 billion more than Biden originally requested from Congress, an earlier proposal that was rejected by members of both sides over fears it would undermine U.S. efforts to militarily follow the pace of China and Russia.
The new bill was passed earlier this month with bipartisan support, with Democrats and Republicans touting victories in the final package.
Democrats applauded the bill’s provisions overhauling the way the military justice system deals with sexual assault and other related crimes, effectively removing the jurisdiction to prosecute such crimes from military commanders.
Republicans, meanwhile, have touted success in blocking an effort to add women to the project, as well as including a provision banning dishonorable dismissals for servicemen who refuse the COVID-19 vaccine.
The bill includes $ 7.1 billion for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative and a statement of Congressional support for the defense of Taiwan, measures intended to counter Chinese influence in the region.
It also includes $ 300 million for Ukraine’s Security Assistance Initiative, a show of support in the face of Russian aggression, as well as $ 4 billion for the European Defense Initiative.
In his statement, the president also described a number of provisions his administration opposes on what he called “constitutional concerns or construction issues.”
These elements include provisions that restrict the use of funds to transfer or release people held at the Guantanamo Bay detention center, which the Biden administration is preparing to shut down. Biden’s statement said the provisions “unduly hamper” the executive’s ability to decide when and where to prosecute detainees and where to send them when they are released, and could hamper US negotiations with foreign countries on the transfer of detainees in a way that could undermine national security.
The law also contains provisions prohibiting goods produced by forced Uyghur labor in China from entering the United States, and it begins to outline plans for the new Global War on Terror Memorial, which would be the latest addition to the National Mall.
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