US House passes defense bill authorizing record spending


By Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of a sweeping bill setting policy for the Department of Defense on Friday, but the “must-pass” bill’s chances of becoming law were uncertain after Republicans added a series of culturally conservative amendments.

The fiscal 2024 National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, which sets policy for the Pentagon and authorizes $886 billion in spending, was approved 219-210.

The vote was largely along party lines, a departure from the typical bipartisan support for a bill that has passed every year since 1961.

The House measure includes a pay raise for members of the military, initiatives to counter China and an additional $300 million to support Ukraine as it responds to the February 2021 invasion by Russia.

Most Democrats withheld their support after the Republican-majority House voted, almost exclusively along party lines, on Thursday night for amendments on hot-button social issues pushed by the party’s hard-right flank.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Ismail Shakil and David Gregorio)

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