The Senate voted Wednesday to pass a key defense policy bill known as the National Security Authorization Act, which sets the policy agenda and authorizes annual funding for the Defense Department.
The final negotiated version of the NDAA authorizes $886 billion in national security funding for fiscal year 2024, a $28 billion increase over last year.
It is expected to be approved by the Senate with bipartisan support and will next go to the House, where lawmakers hope to pass both chambers by the end of the week. The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 87 to 13.
The sweeping legislation authorizes a 5.2% pay raise for military members as part of a broader set of provisions related to service members’ pay and benefits, housing and child care.
In a move that drew ire from some lawmakers, the bill It also includes a short-term extension of a controversial law that allows warrantless surveillance of foreign nationals. Supporters argue it is an important tool for protecting national security, but it has come under fire from some lawmakers for alleged misuse.
The law, Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, enables the U.S. government to obtain intelligence by collecting communications records of foreign nationals who use U.S.-based communications services.
The searches are governed by a set of internal rules and procedures designed to protect Americans’ privacy and civil liberties, but critics say the loopholes allow the FBI to search the data it collects for Americans’ information. – Against foreign enemies – without proper justification.
Tensions flared on Capitol Hill as some conservative Republicans expressed significant frustration over including the extension in the defense policy bill. The extension will last till April 19.
Congressional leaders have said they hope to negotiate consensus legislation to make changes to FISA authorities aimed at curbing abuse that could pass both chambers in the new year.
According to Summary of the Bill The bill, from the Republican-led House Armed Services Committee, would create an oversight committee to oversee U.S. aid to Ukraine. Phenomena, commonly known as UFOs, are accessible to the public.
The legislation lacks two controversial provisions related to abortion and transgender health care access that were in the House defense policy bill passed this summer.
This story and topic have been updated with additional improvements.