House compromises on annual defense bill
Lawmakers passed the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on Tuesday night with overwhelming support. The bill now heads to the Senate where Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., promised to bring it to the floor for a vote. The final version of the NDAA allocates most of the $768 billion for the Department of Defense. Congress will still need to pass an appropriations bill to pay for the act.
What is in the bill? The NDAA will establish a 16-member independent commission to scrutinize the war in Afghanistan. Lawmakers succeeded in including military reforms in the bill: It removes the commander from decisions to prosecute certain crimes such as sexual assault and rape. The NDAA also amends the Uniform Code of Military Justice to classify sexual harassment as a crime. The bill leaves out a previously proposed requirement for women to register for the draft. Republicans also worked to include a provision that any service member who declines the COVID-19 vaccine will receive an honorable discharge.
Dig deeper: Read my report in The Stew about how the military handles sexual assault cases.
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