Biden signs $886 billion Pentagon budget with pay raise for troops, extension of FISA spy program

Biden signs $886 billion Pentagon budget with pay raise for troops, extension of FISA spy program

President Biden on Friday signed the $886 billion defense policy bill into law, securing the largest raise in military basic pay in decades but also extending the government’s authority to spy on the phone and internet activity of foreigners living abroad, which opponents fear could be used against Americans.

The 2024 National Defense Authorization Act received bipartisan support from Congress this month. The nearly 3,100-page NDAA called for a 5.2% pay raise for the troops.

“The Act provides the critical authorities we need to build the military required to deter future conflicts while supporting service members and their spouses and families who carry out that mission every day,” President Biden said in a statement released by the White House.

It passed after congressional negotiators eliminated a provision backed by the majority-GOP House of Representatives that would have eliminated a controversial Pentagon policy to reimburse travel and expenses for service members and their families who travel to other states for abortions. 

Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi, the senior GOP member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the now-signed law also includes several conservative victories, including amendments targeting the Pentagon’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) apparatus and measures to force the Defense Department to allow millions of dollars worth of unused panels to be used to extend the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The new law authorizes $300 million to continue arming Ukraine and bars the president from withdrawing the U.S. from NATO without first securing a two-thirds vote from the Senate.

“Enemies of freedom are growing more dangerous and capable by the day,” Sen. Wicker said after the bill left Congress. It “should signal to China, Russia, and others that we will not accept a world where America does not have the best fighting force.”  » …
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