The US House passed a $736 billion National Defense Authorization Act for 2020 bill on Wednesday. It will be voted on by the Senate next week and is expected to be signed into law by President Donald Trump.
The bill was passed by a 377-48 vote and largely seen as a compromise between Republicans and Democrats. The bill creates a sixth branch of the military called Space Force within the Air Force, a Republican priority, but it also extends paid parental leave for 2 million federal workers to 12 weeks, a priority for the Democrats.
The bill increases defense spending by $131 billion, with $22 billion more toward defense. It includes a 3.2 percent pay raise for service members and authorizes a bolstering of $4.5 billion for the Afghanistan national security force. The bill further authorizes sanctions on the construction of a new gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea for Russian pipe-laying ships.
Washington Democratic Representative Adam Smith of the House Armed Service Committee said that it was, “the most progressive National Defense Authorization Act in decades. It takes important strides toward strengthening our national defense, supporting service members and their families, and preserving the American values we share.”
Wisconsin Democratic Representative Mark Pocan was opposed and said, “The President has made it clear that he serves at the pleasure of defense contractors, not the American public. It’s time we have a national conversation on the endless increases in defense spending that have gone unchecked for far too long.”