House Passes $895B Defense Bill With 19% Raise For Junior Troops

Congress’ annual defense policy bill passed the House on Friday after a week of voting on more than 300 amendments, during which conservatives scored several victories on diversity, critical race theory and gender surgeries.

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) authorizes funding for military priorities across the Department of Defense and Department of Energy, with that funding later coming in the form of a defense appropriations bill.

A marquee provision of this year’s bill is a 19.5% pay increase for junior enlisted troops.

The NDAA is traditionally a widely bipartisan effort, but the fight over culture war provisions alienated Democrats up to the White House, which issued statements opposing those and other similar measures in the bill.

Republicans have argued that rolling back measures on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and other progressive issues would help increase military readiness and turn around the dire recruitment crisis the U.S. military is currently dealing with.

Three amendments going after DEI roles in the armed forces passed this week: eliminating the role of Chief Diversity Officer, any DEI-related offices and their personnel and enacting a hiring freeze on any future such roles.

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