House Democrats join Republicans and pass 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, approving $717 billion in military spending

"It is a compromise.”

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Image Credit: NDTV

The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act quickly passed in the House of Representatives this week with support from 139 Democrats and all, but five Republicans. The “historically quick negotiations” took place on Monday between the House and Senate Armed Services leaders where they decided on a compromised annual policy bill that would grant the Trump administration $717 billion in military spending.

After several years of budget caps, Republicans pushed for a compromise that would “build up the military and regain readiness,” Politico reported. The bill, which passed 359-54, would increase military spending yet “limit the delivery of new F-35 fighter jets to Turkey and crack down on Chinese telecommunications technology and foreign investment,” Politico reported.

“If we send our men and women on missions, they deserve to have the best equipment, the best training and the best support that this country can provide,” House Armed Services Chairman Rep. Mac Thornberry, (R-Texas), said. “It advances implementation of the new National Defense Strategy so we can be better prepared against peer-to-peer or near-peer adversaries such as Russia and China.”

According to Politico, “of the total $717 billion, the bill would authorize $616.9 billion for the base Pentagon budget, $21.9 billion for nuclear weapons programs under the Energy Department and another $69 billion in war spending from the special Overseas Contingency Operations account.”

Democrats who voted in favor of the NDAA called the bill “very strong.” While there were things left out and things in the bill they wished weren’t, “that is the nature of the legislative process,” Rep. Adam Smith, (D-Wash.), said.

“It is a compromise,” he said.

While the bill would increase the military by 15,600 active-duty troops and add 13 new Navy warships, it will also increase troops’ pay by 2.6 percent, which is the highest pay raise in almost 10 years.

The Senate will vote on the House’s compromised National Defense Authorization Act as early as next week before it is sent to Donald Trump, who is said to sign it.

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