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The United States’ Senate on Thursday approved a $858 billion defense budget, which includes pay increases for troops and scraps the Covid-19 vaccine mandate for military personnel, a Republican demand.
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) now needs to be signed into law by President Joe Biden.
The bill was approved by an overwhelming 83-11 vote.
It is 10 percent higher than last year’s $778 billion budget.
Of the $857.9 billion approved in the new spending package, $816.7 billion is allocated to the Department of Defense and $30.3 billion to national security programs in the Energy Department.
The budget is $45 billion more than proposed by Biden to address the effect of inflation and accelerate the implementation of the National Defense Strategy.
The bill authorizes $12.6 billion for the impact of inflation on purchases, another $3.8 billion for the impact on military construction projects and $2.5 billion for the effect on fuel purchases.
“This year’s agreement focuses on the most vital national security priorities for the United States, including strategic competition with China and Russia; disruptive technologies like hypersonic weapons, artificial intelligence, 5G, and quantum computing; modernizing our ships, aircraft, and vehicles; and, most importantly, improving the lives of our servicemembers and their families,” a summary of the bill said.
The legislation also approves a 4.6 percent increase in the salary of Department of Defense employees, both civilian and military.
The budget also expands the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative and authorizes an additional $800 million dollars in funding in fiscal year 2023.
It “expresses the sense of Congress that the United States’ commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is ironclad and emphasizes the importance of expanding cooperation on shared security challenges,” the summary said.