Senate Passes $858 Billion Military Spending Bill

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The U.S. Senate on Dec. 15 passed a military spending bill with a top-line price to taxpayers of $858 billion.

The defense package, dubbed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), passed the upper chamber by an 83–11 vote.

The NDAA was passed by the House of Representatives on Dec. 8 in a 350–80 vote. A total of 176 Republicans in the lower chamber voted for the bill, 35 voted against it, and two didn’t vote. A total of 174 Democrats voted for the bill, while 45 voted against it.

One of the most noteworthy aspects of the package, and an early victory for Republicans as they prepare to take the House next year, was a repeal of President Joe Biden’s controversial COVID-19 vaccine mandate for military service members. Despite historically supporting Biden’s COVID-19 policies, Democrats yielded on the issue.

However, in an interview with NTD, Cesar Ybarra, vice president of policy at FreedomWorks, warned that this may not be the victory for Republicans that it seems to be.

“The legislation simply said that the Department of Defense is required to rescind the memo that authorizes the vaccine mandate on servicemembers,” Ybarra explained. “However … it gives us no assurances that DOD will not do that again, right.”

He added, “So it simply says get rid of it, but nothing that says you cannot do this again. And we’ve known from the COVID hysteria that these federal politicians always flip-flop on when or when we don’t need these vaccine mandates.”

Before passing the bill, the Senate rejected an amendment proposed by Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), which would have reinstated servicemembers removed exclusively for refusing the vaccine, as well as compensation for any salary and benefits lost due to the separation.

The amendment failed, with 40 senators supporting it and 54 opposing it.

“People serving our military are the finest among us. Over 8,000 were terminated because they refused to get this experimental vaccine, and so I’m urging all of my colleagues to support Senator Cruz’s and my amendment,” Johnson said.

By Joseph Lord

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