House passes compromise defense bill

By Tony Bertuca / December 7, 2021 at 10:39 PM

The House voted 363-70 to pass a compromise version of the fiscal year 2022 defense authorization bill, clearing the way for the legislation to pass in the Senate and be signed into law for the 61st consecutive year.

House and Senate negotiators carved out the current bill outside the regular legislative process after it became mired in partisan debate last week in the Senate.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) said the bill represents a compromise between both parties and chambers of Congress.

“As a result, every single member involved has something in it they like and something that didn’t get into the bill that they wish had,” he said in a statement. “This year’s procedural realities made the entire process exponentially more difficult. When we get to the end of this arduous process, we often forget the hundreds of provisions we came to agreement on and focus solely on where we could not come to agreement. Ultimately, our responsibility as a Congress to provide for the common defense supersedes these areas of disagreement, making the substance of this bill and its signature into law critical.”

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL), the committee’s ranking member, praised the bipartisan bill in a statement.

“I am grateful for the work by my colleagues in the House and the Senate to craft a bipartisan and bicameral [defense authorization bill] that bolsters our national security and supports our troops,” he said. “This bill will prepare our military to face the ever-growing threat of China by banning them from our American supply chain and modernizing our weapon systems.”

“As this crucial legislation now moves to the Senate, I thank my colleagues across the House and Senate Armed Services Committees for their work on this agreement and its two underlying bills. Expeditious passage of S. 1605 by the Senate and signature by President Biden will strengthen our national security by giving these critical reforms the force of law.”

The Senate plans to vote on the bill this week in the hopes of sending it to President Biden for his signature.