President Biden on Monday signed a sweeping $768 million defense policy bill, setting up top lines and policy for the Pentagon, the White House announced.

Biden signed the fiscal 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) after Congress scrambled to pass the annual bill earlier this month.

In a statement, the president said the bill “provides vital benefits and enhances access to justice for military personnel and their families, and includes critical authorities to support our country’s national defense.”

The House passed the bill by an overwhelmingly bipartisan 363-70 vote in early December, and the Senate later passed the bill by a bipartisan 88-11 vote

Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said in a statement that “there’s a lot to be proud of in this bill.”

The $768.2 billion compromise bill came after efforts to pass an earlier version of the bill in the Senate hit several snags, including failures to reach agreements on which amendments would receive floor votes.

The NDAA provides $740 billion for the Department of Defense, which is $25 billion more than what the president requested for the agency for fiscal 2022.  It also includes $27.8 billion for defense-related activities in the Department of Energy and another $378 million for other defense-related activities. 

While passing the NDAA is an important step, the measure does not authorize any spending, meaning Congress still needs to pass an appropriations bill.

Earlier this month, Congress passed a short-term continuing resolution which funds the government through Feb. 18.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said earlier this month that passing a full-year continuing resolution, as opposed to a full-year appropriations bill, would be “an unprecedented move that would cause enormous, if not irreparable, damage for a wide range of bipartisan priorities.” 

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, had warned that a full-year continuing resolution would put defense spending at $35 billion less than what the NDAA provides for.

“We can all stand up here on the Senate floor and back at home, declaring our unwavering support for our troops and their families, and claiming to support a strong national defense, but until we put our money where our mouth is and provide the funding we say we support, those words ring hollow,” Leahy said in a statement. 

Among its provisions, the NDAA includes a 2.7 percent increase in military basic pay, which the White House recommended.

This year’s defense policy bill also includes major changes to how the military prosecutes certain crimes, like sexual assault. For those crimes, like rape, murder and manslaughter, the decision to prosecute would be made outside of the chain of command.

However, commanders would still have authority to conduct trials, pick jury members, approve witnesses and grant immunity.

The bill also weighs in on the military’s vaccine mandate, directing that service members who are discharged for not getting the COVID-19 vaccine get at least a general discharge under honorable conditions. 

But in his statement, Biden pointed to several provisions in the bill that he was against. Among them, he urged Congress to eliminate provisions that restrict the use of funds to transfer detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

He also opposed provisions that require sharing with Congress information regarding the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the threat of Iranian-backed militias to U.S. personnel in Iraq and the Middle East.

The measures would include “highly sensitive classified information,” Biden said, that “could reveal critical intelligence sources or military operational plans.”

This story was updated at 3:51 p.m.

Tags Adam Smith annual defense policy bill defense policy Joe Biden Lloyd Austin National Defense Authorization Act NDAA Patrick Leahy

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