The $858 Billion NDAA Heads to Biden’s Desk

Vaccine mandate for Military removed...for now

The $858 Billion NDAA was passed by both the House and Senate, and now heads to Biden’s desk. Will he sign it?  That point is unclear because it contains the removal of the vaccine mandate for the US Military, which both Biden and SecDef Austin wanted.  The bill also contains numerous other portions, some of which are controversial – but they are attached to the “must pass” omnibus Defense spending legislation.

The House passed the bill on December 8 with a vote of 350-80. It passed the Senate on Thursday by a vote of 83-11. And though the numbers make it look like a snap, there were compromises made to get it through Congress. The original defense spending requested was less than the final amount. Congress increased it, according to a bill summary. $817 Billion is earmarked for the Defense Department and includes a 2.7% pay raise for the military, which is the largest in 20 years. It also includes funds for research, shipbuilding, and procurement.

Rescinding the vaccine mandate?

Two GOP Senators, Cruz (R-TX) and Johnson (R-WI) introduced an amendment to the bill that required the Military to rehire those service members that were fired. It failed as Democrats whined about “rewarding people for disobeying an order.”

“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.” Senator Ron Johnson

It failed 40-54. The vaccines failed as well, if you’ve been reading the news.

The 2023 NDAA simply states that the memo which required the Covid vaccine be rescinded. Which means that the Military could once again create chaos with another memo. But the Democrats caved at least on the memo in order to get it through.

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

Ukraine and US stockpile replenishment

The bill contains $800 million more for Ukraine which is significantly more than last year’s provision of $500 million. But at least this year, the defense bill includes replenishment of US stockpiles.

“…the defense bill would expedite the delivery of munitions to Ukraine and the replenishment of associated US stockpiles by streamlining acquisition requirements and authorizing multiyear procurement for certain munitions, according to the House Armed Services Committee. The authorization would also provide stocks of munitions to US allies and partners, as well as increase the number of munitions that would be needed if China takes action against Taiwan.

It would be the largest number of multiyear procurement contracts for munitions that the defense bill has authorized in recent history, if not ever.

One of the key concerns throughout the ongoing conflict in Ukraine has been whether the industrial bases of the US and other allied nations can meet the demand required to support Ukraine. This measure is focused on reducing bureaucratic red tape to help industry produce those weapons for Ukraine faster.”  Tammy Luhby at CNN

The Defense bill enhances the US partnership with Taiwan by authorizing $10 billion in foreign military grants, a regional ‘contingency’ stockpile of weapons to be available in case China attacks and allow the President up to $1 billion for giving weapons to Taiwan.

It’s not perfect, and it rarely is. It is hoped that the GOP taking over the House next month will bring oversight to permanently stop the SecDef and his henchmen from getting rid of so many service members, and perhaps restore their service. IF they want to rejoin. We wouldn’t blame them if they didn’t.



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Faye Higbee

Faye Higbee is the columnist manager for Uncle Sam's Misguided Children. She has been writing at Conservative Firing Line since 2013 as well. She is also a published author.

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