- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 12, 2019

The massive 2020 defense policy bill and military budget has made its way through the House and will now be considered by the Senate with a vote likely next week.

In a late Wednesday evening vote, the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act was widely approved by the House with a 377-48 margin.

The NDAA,which sets a $738 billion defense budget along with a host of policies, green-lights President Trump’s prized Space Force, allows funding of a border wall with Defense Department money and boosts military pay by 3.1%. Mr. Trump has praised the compromise measure as a major victory and indicated he will sign it.

Despite several Democratic wins, including authorizing 12 weeks of paid family leave for military families, the bill’s passage ran into an 11th-hour hurdle when several progressive members came out against the legislation, risking its approval.

The members argued that the NDAA failed to include protections for transgender troops, spending curbs on the construction of the Mexico border wall, or language to mandate demanding Mr. Trump get congressional approval for military action against Iran.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Smith defended the final product as “the most progressive defense bill in the history of the country, with Donald Trump as president.”

“To those who say that we should have ‘fought harder’ or ‘held the line’ – I can assure you we fought the entire time,” the Washington state Democrat said in a statement just as members made their way to the House floor to vote.

The legislation will now be considered by the Senate, where it is expected to pass with a significant majority, and will then head to the president’s desk.

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