Gavel Down, Battle Up: House Passes Massive Defense Bill, Sending it to Biden’s Desk

The House of Representatives approved the National Defense Authorization Bill (NDAA) on Thursday. It now goes to the desk of President Biden for his approval.

The House approved the annual Defense Authorization Bill on Thursday. This $886 billion Pentagon funding and policy package will be sent to Biden.

The measure was defeated by 45 Democrats and 73 Republicans. The House passed this legislation by suspending the rules. This meant that it required a majority of two-thirds.

The House and Senate agreed on the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act, which was approved by both chambers. Hard-line conservatives objected because it excluded several amendments that were passed in the House during the summer. These amendments sought to eliminate what they called “woke” Pentagon policy.

The conservatives wanted to see the end of “woke” Pentagon policy, which included the Pentagon-funded “Pride” event and a “Lend-Lease” Act from WW2 to provide equipment and ammunition to Ukraine. Ukraine alone will spend $800 million on top of the $75 billion in aid and logistics support already provided to this embattled nation. The NDAA comes as the Pentagon faces criticism for failing to audit “standalone” entities that control trillions of dollars in assets and liabilities.

The conservative wing of the House Republican caucus may have been unsatisfied with the final bill.

House and Senate negotiators unveiled the compromise version last week. It removed a ban on the Defense Department abortion policy, a prohibition against Pentagon funding of gender-affirming health care, and other controversial provisions.

Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, blasted the NDAA because it did not include GOP priorities.

Roy, who spoke on the floor of the House, said: “There’s no justification to support a bill which does not change our military direction away from social engineering.”

Republicans did not lose everything, however. A few key elements of the final bill were kept:

The NDAA also contains provisions that restrict critical race theory – an academic framework evaluating U.S. History through the lens of racism – at military academies. It also prohibits unauthorized flags flying on military bases – which would include LGBTQ flags – and orders the reconsideration of troops who were discharged because they refused the COVID-19 vaccination.

The NDAA’s provisions extending Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act were one of the most contentious parts of the bill. Conservative and libertarian organizations have claimed that FISA gives federal law enforcement a “backdoor” to examine the phone records, email, and other electronic communication of American citizens. FISA appears to be a way of gathering intelligence about foreign actors without the need for a warrant. Republican lawmakers still claim that the process can be utilized to monitor American citizens caught on the web.

Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., said that the FISA extension would allow for “surveillance” of U.S. citizenry. This would violate our constitutional rights in this country without reform. The NDAA bill is bad, but attaching it to FISA only makes it worse. “Every Republican should vote against this bill.”

Now, the NDAA is ready for President Biden to sign. The bill is expected to be approved by the President.