House and Senate lawmakers have released a compromise version of the fiscal year 2023 defense authorization bill that supports $858 billion in total national defense spending, a $45 billion increase above what President Biden has requested.
The topline of the bill, which is in line with legislation previously passed by the Senate Armed Services Committee, authorizes $848 billion for national defense, while another $10 billion is supported through other legislation. The bill authorizes $817.7 billion for the Defense Department and $30.3 billion for defense-related activities by the Energy Department.
A fact sheet from the Senate Armed Services Committee said the bill authorizes $12.6 billion for inflation impacts on purchases, $3.8 billion for inflation impacts on military construction projects, and $2.5 billion for inflation impacts on fuel.
The bill also requires the Pentagon to rescind the mandate that members of the armed forces be vaccinated against COVID-19. Thirteen Republican Senators had said they would not vote for the bill unless the vaccine mandates were removed.
Additionally, the bill authorizes $25 million for continued research and development of a nuclear-capable submarine launched cruise missile system, despite the efforts of the White House and some congressional Democrats to cancel the program.
The bill also serves as a vehicle for several other key pieces of legislation including bills to enhance U.S. defense assistance to Taiwan, authorize policy and toplines for the State Department and intelligence community, a minibus appropriations for homeland security and government affairs, and more.
For Ukraine, the bill extends the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative and authorizes $800 million for FY-23, an increase of $500 million above the president’s budget request, though senior DOD officials continue to request billions of dollars for Ukraine in emergency supplemental funding packages.
The bill also “expresses the sense of Congress that the United States must continue to assist Ukraine in its fight against the unjust and unprovoked attack by Russia, and that oversight and transparency for such assistance is essential to ensure effective and sustained support,” according to the fact sheet.
The legislation also contains a provision that, “subject to specified appropriations,” would provide “temporary authority” (until Dec. 31, 2023) to modify fixed-price contracts to give economic price adjustments to contractors operating under fixed-price contracts squeezed by inflation.
The House is expected to vote on the bill this week, followed by the Senate next week.
Watch Inside Defense for further reporting on additional details from the bill.