The U.S. House of Representatives backed legislation on Thursday paving the way for the defense budget to hit a record $858 billion next year, $45 billion more than proposed by President Joe Biden, APA reports citing Reuters.
The House passed the compromise version of the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, an annual must-pass bill-setting policy for the Pentagon, by 350-80, far exceeding the two-thirds majority required to pass the legislation and send it for a vote in the Senate.
The fiscal 2023 NDAA authorizes $858 billion in military spending and includes a 4.6% pay increase for the troops, funding for purchases of weapons, ships, and aircraft, and support for Taiwan as it faces aggression from China and Ukraine as it fights an invasion by Russia.
"This bill is Congress exercising its authority to authorize and do oversight," said Representative Adam Smith, the Democratic chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, in a speech urging support for the measure.
Because it is one of the few major bills passed every year, members of Congress use the NDAA as a vehicle for a range of initiatives, some unrelated to defense.
This year's bill - the result of months of negotiations between Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate - needed a two-thirds majority in the House after disagreement from some House members over whether it should include an amendment on voting rights.
The fiscal 2023 NDAA includes a provision demanded by many Republicans requiring the Secretary of Defense to rescind a mandate requiring that members of the armed forces get COVID-19 vaccinations.
It will provide Ukraine with at least $800 million in additional security assistance next year and includes a range of provisions to strengthen Taiwan amid tensions with China.