WASHINGTON: The US House of Representatives has passed a controversial defence spending bill following a series of conservative policy amendments on abortion, diversity, equity and inclusion programs, as well as gender transition procedures.
The annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which sets policy for the Defense Department, cleared the House in a near-party-line vote, 219-210 on Friday, reports CBS News.
Republicans Eli Crane and Andy Biggs of Arizona; Ken Buck of Colorado; and Thomas Massie of Kentucky voted against the bill.
Democrats Jared Golden of Maine, Gabe Vasquez of New Mexico, Marie Gluesenkamp Perez of Washington and Don Davis of North Carolina voted for the package that rescued the defence measure from failing to pass.
While the package typically earns wide bipartisan support and has passed Congress each year for more than six decades, this year’s proposal became ensnared in politically-charged policy debates divid-ing Republicans and Democrats.
Democrats said that Republicans have hijacked the $886 billion bill that funds the Pentagon for a year and risked US national security.
“The hyper-partisan GOP bill undermines our military readiness and hurts America’s national security,” Democratic House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries said on Twitter.
The bill sets its policy agenda and includes a 5.2 per cent pay rise for troops and measures to ad-dress China and Russia. (IANS)