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US House of Representatives passes defense policy bill, but fight against ‘culture wars’ continues -September 19, 2023 at 9:42 p.m.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted 393 to 27 on Tuesday to send its version of a sweeping Pentagon policy bill to conference with the Senate, paving the way for negotiations aimed at bridging the deep divide between the two chambers. on issues such as access to abortion and diversity initiatives.

The massive bill, this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), authorizes a record $886 billion in military spending. It typically passes both houses of Congress on a largely bipartisan basis.

But this year, the Republican-controlled House passed its version of the bill by a narrow 219-210 margin, with Democrats voting against it after right-wing Republicans added amendments on hot-button social issues. like the repeal of a Pentagon law. Expense reimbursement policy for service members traveling to obtain abortions.

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The broad support for sending the measure to conference reflected the hope of many Democrats that conference with the Democratic-majority Senate would result in a more moderate NDAA.

The Senate approved its version of the bill, without these provisions, by 86 votes to 11.

Representatives from both chambers will now meet to iron out differences between the two versions of the legislation and draft a final bill. It will need to be approved by both chambers before being sent to the White House for President Joe Biden to sign or veto.

The NDAA, which is separate from the appropriations bills that set government spending levels, governs everything from troop pay raises (5.2 percent this year) to the purchase of ships and planes, to policies such as support for Ukraine.

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It is one of the few major laws that Congress passes each year and has gone into effect every year since 1961.

Times of National
Times of National
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