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What’s behind the NDAA delay?

Lawmakers reach an impasse while considering the National Defense Authorization Act.
Published: Dec. 6, 2021 at 9:43 AM MST
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - From soldier pay raises to military construction, the $770 billion National Defense Authorization Act would increase military spending by around 5 percent this year, but the annual policy bill has hit a few hiccups in the U.S Senate.

For decades, the annual policy bill has passed through Congress with strong bipartisan support.

This year, lawmakers from both sides agree a swift approval of legislation is necessary.

“This is how we fund the military; it’s passed for 60 years,” said Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.)

“We’ve never shirked our duties to provide for our military men and women to have the equipment that they need, the training they need, their salaries,” said Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.)

However, partisan tensions in the U.S Senate are making a timely passage appear unlikely.

The NDAA green lights funding for defense-related activities, but since it’s a large bill that’s passed annually, it’s also used as a vehicle for other legislative items.

With Democrats in charge of the upper chamber, former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb with the Center of American Progress said some proposals this year include requiring women to register for the draft, and a push for a sexual assault and military justice overhaul.

Some GOP members, however, are objecting because of proposals that they too want included, like a bill imposing sanctions on a Russian-backed natural gas pipeline.

“To get that passed you need 60 votes, the Republicans have opposed it,” said Korb. “And some Democrats because they don’t like the amount of the budget. The budget is actually higher than what Trump had proposed.”

It’s still unclear which amendments, if any, the Senate will consider.

The House and Senate must pass an agreed-upon version of the bill, to send to the President’s desk for his signature.

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