Senate votes to approve mammoth national defense policy bill

The Senate has voted to approve the National Defense Authorization Act, which will now head back to the House for final approval before it is expected to head to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law for the 63rd straight year.

The legislation is accompanied by an extension of FISA-702, which pertains to a warrantless surveillance program that can keep operating lawfully until April.

The mammoth record spending bill aims to approve, in 2024, $886 billion in annual military spending, which is up by 3% from the previous fiscal year.

The bill has strong bipartisan support, including that of President Biden, who is expected to sign it into law.

The NDAA is separate from the appropriations bills that set government spending marks and is a massive piece of legislation that authorizes a plethora of budgetary allocations, from salary increases to the purchase of weapons and vehicles used for national defense.

This year, the NDAA’s 3,100 pages of language include orders set out to increase troop pay by its highest point in years at 5.2%.

The legislation also has provisions to deal with Ukraine’s defense aid and for defense against China’s actions in the Indo-Pacific region.

One notable aspect of the joint package is the omission of a pair of provisions considered to be controversial by some lawmakers in Washington. Provisions related to access to transgender health care services and abortion services. Two similar provisions were in the House defense bill that passed earlier this year.