" "

Senate passes divisive defense policy bill with notable omissions, heads to house

0 158

In a contentious session on Wednesday, the Senate approved a defense policy bill, ushering in the largest pay raise for troops in over two decades. However, the legislation, typically a bipartisan effort, sparked heated debate due to the exclusion of key priorities advocated by social conservatives.

After months of negotiations to reconcile disparate versions passed by each chamber in July, the final bill, approved by a 87-13 Senate vote, now advances to the House. Notably absent from the legislation are provisions blocking the Pentagon’s abortion travel policy and limitations on gender-affirming health care for transgender service members and dependents.

While the bill addresses diversity and inclusion training concessions for Republicans, it stirred concerns about a short-term extension of a surveillance program (Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act). Critics from both sides view the extension as a threat to privacy, prompting bipartisan pushback against reauthorization.

The defense bill, allocating $886 billion for national defense programs this fiscal year, emphasizes a 5.2% increase in service member pay. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer highlighted the bill’s aim to keep the U.S. military “state of the art.”

Amid global tensions, the legislation tackles issues related to Ukraine and China, creating a special inspector general for Ukraine and establishing new partnerships and agreements in response to China’s military assertiveness.

However, House Speaker Mike Johnson faces challenges as opposition within the GOP prompts a special voting process usually reserved for non-controversial bills. Swift passage is urged by the White House, emphasizing the bill’s importance in building military capabilities amid ongoing conflicts worldwide.

About Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyright © Muslim Media Corporation, New York. All rights reserved.