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US House passes $858 billion defense spending bill

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Dec 09, 2022 - 01:34 AM

WASHINGTON (AA) – The US House of Representatives passed a $858 defense spending bill Thursday as lawmakers face a rapidly approaching deadline to fund the Pentagon.

The House passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in a bipartisan 350-80 vote, sending the measures to the Senate for a final vote.

The chamber is widely expected to pass the legislation in short order and send it to US President Joe Biden to be signed into law before Congress begins its winter recess next week.

Amendments introduced in the House making sales of F-16 fighter jets to Türkiye contingent on a series of conditions were removed Tuesday by lawmakers.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith said shortly after the bill passed that it “includes important provisions to support our service members and their families, advance cutting-edge research and development, and invest in our global network of allies and partnerships to tackle the biggest challenges around the world.”

“In the many months of negotiations and deliberations it took to craft this legislation, there were compromises made to get this bill across the finish line,” he said in a statement. “In the compromise, we did not get everything we want, but we secured significant wins that are important to Democratic national security priorities.”

The omnibus spending bill has a broad array of items, including increasing military basic pay by 4.6%, mandating the Pentagon to transition non-tactical vehicle fleets to zero-emissions vehicles and authorizes $131.7 million in spending for defense research at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

It also mandates that the Pentagon establish a Civilian Protection Center of Excellence to standardize and improve policies geared toward reducing civilian harm in the Pentagon’s military operations, and authorizes $25 million for the execution of the plan.

On Ukraine, the bill allocates $800 million to fund what is known as the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which supports and aids Ukraine’s armed forces, and includes more than $6 billion to bolster US military operations in Europe.

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