US: Bill approving $768.2 billion in the defense budget is signed into law by Joe Biden
President Joe Biden takes part in the White House COVID-19 Response Team's regular teleconference with the National Governors Association
The National Defense Authorization Act, signed by President Joe Biden on Monday, authorizes $768.2 billion in military spending for 2022, including a 2.7 percent pay boost for service members.
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) provides a 5% increase in military spending and is the result of months of intensive discussions between Democrats and Republicans over issues ranging from military justice reform to COVID-19 vaccine requirements for soldiers.
"The Act provides vital benefits and enhances access to justice for military personnel and their families and includes critical authorities to support our country's national defense," Biden said in a statement.
The $768.2 billion price tag is $25 billion higher than Biden's previous request to Congress, which was rejected by members of both parties because to worries that it would jeopardise the US's efforts to stay up with China and Russia militarily.
The new law received bipartisan backing earlier this month, with both Democrats and Republicans hailing victories in the final package.
Democrats praised measures in the bill that alter the military justice system's handling of sexual assault and other similar crimes, effectively shifting prosecuting jurisdiction away from military leaders.
Republicans, meanwhile, boasted about their success in rejecting a bill that would have added women to the draught, as well as the inclusion of a provision that prevents service members from receiving dishonourable discharges if they refuse the COVID-19 vaccine.
Provisions in those planks prohibit the use of monies to transfer or release detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detention centre, which the Biden administration is working to abolish. The provisions, according to Biden's statement, "unduly impair" the executive branch's ability to decide when and where to prosecute detainees and where to send them when they're released, and could constrain US negotiations with foreign countries over detainee transfers, potentially jeopardising national security.
The bill also includes rules prohibiting the importation of goods made in China using forced Uyghur labour, and it begins to lay out plans for the new Global War on Terror Memorial, which would be the newest addition to the National Mall.
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