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What’s in the $858 billion military spending budget that’s now headed to the Senate?

The bill includes a pay raise for military service members and additional aid to Ukraine

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Sgt. 1st Class Doreen Fajota gives Sgt. Brittany Koppenhaver a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

Sgt. First Class Doreen Fajota gives Sgt. Brittany Koppenhaver a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020, at Evans Army Community Hospital as Fort Carson U.S. Army Base in Colorado Springs became the first military installation in Colorado to administer the vaccine.

Christian Murdock, The Gazette via Associated Press

On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a military spending bill, raising the defense budget to a record $858 billion next year. The passage of the bill also removes the mandate requiring troops to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, according to The New York Times.

What’s in the military spending bill?

The National Defense Authorization Act includes a 4.6% raise for military service members and Defense Department civilians, increasing the housing allowance for service members by 2%, according to The Wall Street Journal.

  • The bill also provides an additional $800 million in security assistance for Ukraine next year, along with provisions to “strengthen Taiwan amidst tensions with China,” Reuters stated. The budget also includes funding for purchases of weapons and aircraft.

Details: The bill passed 350-80 in the House, surpassing the two-thirds majority needed to send the legislation to the Senate, which is expected to pass it next week, per Reuters. If the Senate passes the bill, it will be moved to the president’s desk.

  • The New York Times reports that the legislation includes changes to the military’s policy for handling sexual assault cases.
  • The proposal will also discourage government agencies from purchasing items containing semiconductors made by certain Chinese companies, as a part of a larger ban that will be phased over five years, The Wall Street Journal added.
  • John F. Kirby, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, called the repeal of the vaccine mandate a “mistake” but didn’t state that he thought the president would veto the bill, per The New York Times.