It’s the most wonderful time of the year: when weary U.S. lawmakers and sleep-deprived congressional staffers hash out how to spend over $740 billion of taxpayer money in the annual defense authorization bill. The House Armed Services committee approved its bill over Zoom just before midnight on Wednesday after a marathon 13 hours of deliberations.
The Senate is expected to take up the bill after the July 4 holiday weekend before sending it to the White House, where it already faces a potential veto from President Donald Trump.
Among the National Defense Authorization Act provisions, we’re keeping an eye on:
Stonewalled Jackson. The bill gives the Defense Secretary Mark Esper and the chiefs of the services one year to rename U.S. military bases named after Confederate generals. Trump is threatening to veto the legislation over this provision, setting up a showdown between the White House and Capitol Hill—despite widespread bipartisan support.
Toy story. The House bill authorizes 79 new F-35 Lockheed Martin Joint Strike Fighters and a new nuclear-powered Virginia class fast-attack submarine.
Hell no, we won’t go. The House has opted to strip money from Trump’s announced withdrawal of 9,500 U.S. troops from Germany, which has met bipartisan opposition in Congress.
Show me the money. The bill provides a billion-dollar fund for pandemic preparedness as coronavirus cases in the U.S. military have surged by nearly 3,000 since mid-June.
No, really, show me the money. The House passed a 3 percent pay hike for U.S. troops, which would equal about an $860 yearly raise for junior enlisted soldiers, $1,500 for senior enlisted and junior officers, and a cool $2,800 for more senior officers, Defense News reports.
Flight delay. The committee adopted a measure that would fence in 25 percent of Esper’s travel budget until the Pentagon gives Congress a quarterly report of where U.S. troops are deployed around the world