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House passes larger defense budget than Biden administration requested

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The House of Representatives passed the Department of Defense’s 2022 budget, giving them a much larger sum for the next fiscal year than the Biden administration sought.

Lawmakers voted 316-113 in favor of passing the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act. Politicians from both parties voted to increase the budget by nearly $25 billion, while House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Smith was one of the Democrats who voted against the bump. The Biden administration had requested $753 billion for the Defense Department, though lawmakers allocated roughly $768 billion, which is in line with the spending approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee.

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Seventy-six Republicans voted against the bill, citing concerns about women registering for the draft and broad powers for the secretary of defense to define extremism in the ranks. Just 37 Democrats also voted against it.

In the hours before the vote on final passage, the House narrowly approved an amendment by Rep. Ro Khanna, a California Democrat, ending logistical support to Saudi airstrikes against the Houthis in Yemen and stopping the United States from providing intelligence to help them. They also adopted an amendment by Rep. Gregory Meeks, a New York Democrat, stopping U.S. maintenance of the Saudi planes used in the strikes.

But lawmakers defeated an amendment by Rep. Jamaal Bowman, a New York Democrat, that would have required congressional approval of any U.S. troops in Syria within a year's time.

The House rejected two Democratic amendments that would have trimmed the Pentagon budget. One by Rep. Mark Pocan, a Wisconsin Democrat, received just 86 votes. Another by Rep. Barbara Lee, a California Democrat, tried to pare the budget back to Biden's requested amount and got only 142 votes.

The U.S. military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan loomed large over the legislation as it made its way through Capitol Hill. While the bill was in committee, there were dozens of Afghan-related amendments proposed, some of which were passed, that sought clarification about both the withdrawal and the administration’s plan to combat terrorism from afar now.

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Amendments that passed in committee and subsequently passed on the floor will require the defense secretary to submit quarterly reports on the threat of terrorist attacks under a Taliban regime in Afghanistan and for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the defense secretary to provide updates on the same time frame regarding U.S. military operations in Afghanistan.

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Tags: News, NDAA, House of Representatives, Defense Budget, Defense, Pentagon

Original Author: Mike Brest

Original Location: House passes larger defense budget than Biden administration requested

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