President Biden signs $ 770 billion defense bill

President Biden on Monday signed a nearly $ 770 billion defense bill, $ 24 billion more than he asked for, a setback for antiwar liberal...


President Biden on Monday signed a nearly $ 770 billion defense bill, $ 24 billion more than he asked for, a setback for antiwar liberals whose efforts to increase social spending were blocked by moderate Democrats in the name of fiscal responsibility.

Lawmakers have increased spending in nearly every area of ​​the military, including new funding to counter China’s military expansion, initiatives to bolster Ukraine’s defense, and billions of dollars in cash for the purchase of high-tech, high-tech planes, ships and equipment.

The bill, the National Defense Authorization Act, also contains a 2.7 percent pay rise for most military personnel, a widely popular provision supported even by the dozens of progressives who opposed the passage of the law. legislation in the House.

The measure, which covers the exercise that began on October 1, also changes the way the military manages numerous internal criminal investigations, especially those involving sexual assault and sexual harassment.

These arrangements “are the most transformational thing the House Armed Services Committee has done in my 25 years of service,” said Representative Adam Smith, Democrat from Washington and chairman of the committee. “There is much to be proud of in this bill.

The measure has passed the House and the Senate this month with broad bipartisan support, despite Liberal House MPs and 11 senators who voted against it, citing its high price tag and the removal of policy provisions that would have imposed sanctions on Russia and Saudi Arabia for human rights violations, demanded women to enroll in conscription and crack down on extremism within the uniformed services.

But Republicans didn’t get everything they wanted. Democrats blocked an effort by House conservatives who allegedly said Congress had “lost confidence” in Mr. Biden over his handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The bill overcame the intense partisan and intra-party dysfunctions that plagued Congress this year: The Senate neither passed its own defense bill nor considered an amendment, denying lawmakers the chance to vote on several foreign policy issues.

Instead, senior congressional officials gathered behind closed doors to concoct a House bill that could quickly be passed by both houses. Those involved in the effort expressed relief on Monday.

Senator Jack Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island and chairman of the Armed Services Commission, called the bill a “victory.”

“It provides our forces with the resources and support they need to defend our nation,” he said in a statement.

Mr Smith and others pointed out that the criminal justice reforms were among the most important in recent history and predicted that they would do much to change an ingrained culture of cover-up and patronage in the military justice system. .

The bill, for the first time, criminalizes sexual harassment in the military as an offense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The changes also require that a unit’s commander be excluded from decision-making regarding a range of serious crimes in addition to sexual assault and harassment, and mandate independent investigations into murder, manslaughter and kidnapping, in an effort to ensure the ‘impartiality.

“These reforms, which are supported by longtime advocates for survivors of the military sexual assault crisis, will move prosecutions of all sex crimes in the military away from the military commander’s control,” Smith said. in a press release.

“Instead, trained, independent, uniformed lawyers – ultimately overseen by civil service secretaries – will have sole authority to indict the decisions and the responsibility to prosecute these charges. “

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Newsrust - US Top News: President Biden signs $ 770 billion defense bill
President Biden signs $ 770 billion defense bill
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