Compromise defense authorization bill released

By Tony Bertuca / December 7, 2021 at 12:42 PM

House lawmakers, in cooperation with their Senate counterparts, have released a compromise version of the fiscal year 2022 defense authorization bill.

"Because enacting the [bill] in a timely manner is critical, the two bills were combined through a series of negotiations led by the leadership of the" House and Senate Armed Services committees, the lawmakers said.

The traditional legislative process broke down last week in the Senate when lawmakers were unable to agree on amendments.

"Negotiators considered proposals offered by members of both parties that were filed in the Senate," the lawmakers said. "The final text of the bill promotes resilience, innovation, and the right tools for U.S. success in strategic competition and provides vital quality of life improvements for the backbone of America's fighting force: Our service members and their families."

The bill authorizes $768 billion in national defense spending. It does not include an additional $10 billion outside of the legislation’s jurisdiction that is set to be appropriated elsewhere, which would bring total defense spending to about $778 billion for fiscal year 2023.

The bill includes $740 billion specifically for the Pentagon, which is $25 billion more than the President Biden requested earlier this year. The bill also authorizes about $28 billion for the Energy Department’s nuclear weapons programs.

Additionally, the bill directs more than $7 billion be spent on the Pacific Deterrence Initiative, about $2 billion more than what the White House initially sought. The funds are intended to deter Chinese military activity in the region.

The bill also includes no sanctions related to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, a Russian-backed natural gas pipeline Republicans says is harmful to U.S. allies in Europe. The pipeline is supported by Germany and has the backing of the White House. The House version of the bill had included sanctions on Nord Stream 2. The Senate, however, did not include any sanctions because of partisan disagreements.

The bill also does not include any repeal of the authorization for the use of military force related to the U.S. war in Iraq.

Watch Inside Defense for further reporting.