- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 11, 2019

President Trump on Wednesday signaled he will sign the massive defense policy bill lawmakers unveiled this week, a bipartisan measure that authorizes a major spending boost to the Pentagon and endorses his proposed new Space Force.

The legislation poses significant wins for a handful of Mr. Trump’s top priorities, including the Space Force, authorizing a 3.1% pay raise for military personnel, and the elimination of specific language that would restrict Department of Defense funds for building a border wall with Mexico.

“Wow! All of our priorities have made it into the final NDAA: Pay Raise for our Troops, Rebuilding our Military, Paid Parental Leave, Border Security, and Space Force!” he tweeted.

The legislation also authorizes 12 weeks of paid parental leave for federal workers, while giving a major sign of support for NATO and approving more military aid to Ukraine. In a move that angered progressives, language requiring explicit congressional authorization for military action against Iran was stripped from the final bipartisan text.

The massive $738 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) still has several hurdles to get through before making it to the president’s desk. The House is expected to vote on the legislation this week, and the Senate will likely follow closely behind.

Lawmakers are racing to pass the bill as Congress is scheduled to leave Washington for the holiday recess next week. A separate stopgap appropriations bill that funds the Defense Department expires Dec. 20.

Mr. Trump called on lawmakers to pass the legislation soon and said that he “will sign this historic defense legislation immediately!”

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