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Lawmakers tossed out some bipartisan provisions as they rushed to advance the bill, which would increase the Pentagon’s budget by more than what President Biden had requested.
WASHINGTON — The House on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed a $768 billion defense policy bill after lawmakers abruptly dropped proposals that would have required women to register for the draft, repealed the 2002 authorization of the Iraq war and imposed sanctions for a Russian gas pipeline, in a late-year drive to salvage a bipartisan priority.
The legislation, unveiled hours before the vote, put the Democratic-led Congress on track to increase the Pentagon’s budget by roughly $24 billion above what President Biden had requested, angering antiwar progressives who had hoped that their party’s control of the White House and both houses of Congress would lead to cuts to military programs after decades of growth.
Instead, the measure provides significant increases for initiatives intended to counter China and bolster Ukraine, as well as the procurement of new aircraft and ships, underscoring the bipartisan consensus on Capitol Hill for continuing to spend huge amounts of federal money on defense initiatives, even as Republicans lash Democrats for spending freely on social programs.
On the heels of winding down the nation’s 20-year war in Afghanistan, Mr. Biden declared the end of an era defined by ground wars with large troop deployments and pledged that the United States instead would counter threats through military technology and cybersecurity competition. But citing new threats from Russia and China, lawmakers rejected the president’s request to keep military spending essentially flat, and instead overwhelmingly called for increasing it substantially.
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