Congress authorizes 8% defense budget increase – by Bryant Harris (Defense News – December 15, 2022)

WASHINGTON — The Senate voted 83-11 on Friday to authorize an 8% defense budget increase over fiscal 2022 levels. The FY 2023 National Defense Authorization Act adds $45 billion to what the White House requested in its defense budget proposal.

The $858 billion NDAA — which includes roughly $817 billion in Defense Department spending — also includes a 4.6% pay raise for troops as well as billions of dollars in additional funding to help the Pentagon cope with inflation, expand capacity for the defense industrial base to produce major weapons systems and continue certain programs the Biden administration had sought to cancel.

“China is actively, actively trying to undercut American interests and partnerships everywhere from Asia itself to the Middle East, to Africa and beyond,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said on the floor ahead of the vote. “This NDAA will strengthen our hand. It prioritizes crucial partnerships in the Indo-Pacific.”

The House passed the NDAA 350-80 last week after Democrats lined up behind a Republican push to repeal the Defense Department’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The White House and Pentagon have objected to the vaccine mandate repeal, though President Joe Biden has stopped short of issuing a veto threat. Regardless, lawmakers have passed the legislation with a veto-proof majority.

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