The $858 billion legislation would allow for more security spending on Ukraine and Taiwan and authorize a 4.6% pay increase for U.S. troops.
A soldier prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in North Miami, Fla., on March 10, 2021.Eva Marie Uzcategui / Bloomberg via Getty ImagesDec. 16, 2022, 12:41 AM UTC
The Senate passed a massive military policy bill Thursday that would direct the Defense Department to lift a Covid vaccination mandate for service members and authorize $858 billion in defense spending.
The National Defense Authorization Act, the annual bill that authorizes Pentagon spending and policies, cleared the Senate in an 83-11 vote. Five Republicans and six Democrats opposed the measure.
It passed the House in a 350-80 vote last week.
The legislation now heads to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature.
The bipartisan bill would authorize funding for Taiwan and Ukraine and a 4.6% pay increase for troops. It also would do away with the military vaccination mandate, a Republican priority. Democratic leaders allowed the new Covid language to ensure timely passage of the bill.
A GOP-backed amendment that pushed for scrapping the vaccination mandate immediately instead of waiting several weeks failed to meet the 60-vote threshold needed for adoption in the Senate.
A separate amendment, offered by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., sought to overhaul the process to authorize energy and infrastructure projects, known as permitting reform, in the authorization bill. It also fell short of the 60-vote threshold.
Zoë Richards is the evening politics reporter for NBC News.
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