Liberal lawmakers faced a setback as President Biden signed a $770 billion defense bill on Monday; this happened at a time when leftists preached the social spending bill was stopped in the US Senate.
With this, the US will be able to increase military spending, including countering rising Chinese ambitions and helping Ukraine evade Russian aggression.
Biden signed the bipartisan defense spending bill
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) has some popular measures, including a 2.7 percent increase in the pay of most service members. This provision is supported by progressives as well, who opposed the bill in the House.
Most lawmakers are happy with the bill because it will change the military justice system, as the military will not be able to investigate sexual harassment/sexual assault cases in the same ways it used to.
Praising the measure, Democrat Rep. Adam Smith noted it is the most transformational bill the House Service Committee passed in his 25 years of career.
President Biden signed a nearly $770 billion defense bill on Monday, $24 billion more than he had requested, in a setback for liberals whose efforts to expand social spending have been blocked by Democratic moderates in the name of fiscal responsibility. https://t.co/iMan12FXP1
— The New York Times (@nytimes) December 28, 2021
Both chambers of Congress passed the bill earlier this month with wide bipartisan support; although liberals in the House and 11 senators opposed it, citing concerns of the steep price tag.
Similarly, those who opposed noted the bill would ease sanctions against Russia and Saudi Arabia, two countries widely known for suppressing human rights.
However, the Democrats’ overwhelming majority in the House helped them in crafting the bill. House Republicans wanted to add the pointer in the bill that indicated Congress “lost confidence” in Biden over his hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan, a measure which Democrats overturned.
NDAA will reform the military justice system
Adam Smith lauded the reforms in military investigations, as they would help improve the military justice system of the country.
For the first time in history, sexual harassment is being criminalized in the US military, under the uniform code of military justice. Not only this, but the unit’s commander would not be the decision-maker in many serious criminal investigations beyond sexual assault.
Thus, the investigations of manslaughter, kidnapping, and murder would be done independently to ensure impartiality in the military.
Smith asserted the newly introduced reforms would take the authority of investigation away from the military commanders in many crucial matters, which will let qualified attorneys lead the investigations.
So, civilian service secretaries would be able to charge those in question.
President Joe Biden signs the National Defense Authorization Act into law, authorizing $768.2 billion in military spending, including a 2.7% pay raise for service members, for 2022 https://t.co/q8UW2m2mmO
— Bloomberg (@business) December 28, 2021
The NDAA has allocated $4 billion for the European Defense Initiative, $300 million to support Ukraine’s armed forces, and $150 million for Baltic security cooperation.
Similarly, in order to counter China, the bill has allocated $7.1 billion for the Pacific Deterrence initiative, coupled with Congress’ statement to defend Taiwan’s sovereignty.
Not only this, but the NDAA also banned the Department of Defense from procuring products manufactured with forced labor in Xinjiang’s province of China.