The US Senate passed, on Tuesday, by an overwhelming majority, the annual defense bill of $738 billion, to pass to the President Donald Trump one of the most expensive defense budgets in the country’s history.
New bill will increase military spending by 3 percent from the last year’s budget, according to New York Times.
The newspaper pointed out that the vote – which came after a similar vote by the House of Representatives – comes in light of legislators seeking to finalize a set of laws agreed upon by both parties, while the House of Representatives is approaching the vote on two indictments against Trump as part of the measures to isolate him.
Congress’s approval of the project also comes to end months of disputes between Republicans and Democrats over how to manage defense policy. Trump is expected to sign the defense bill later in the week.
A few left-leaning Democrats and libertarian-leaning Republicans voted against the NDAA because it did not include policy planks that would have restrained Trump’s war powers, including banning support for Saudi Arabia’s air campaign in Yemen.
The defense bill includes sanctions to prevent the construction of the Russian “Nord Stream 2” natural gas pipeline, through which Moscow seeks to export gas to Europe, and which Washington believes will increase Europe’s dependence on Russian gas and through which Moscow will avoid Europe’s dependence on Ukrainian pipelines.
It also includes an item that prevents Turkey from obtaining advanced American F-35 fighters, in response to Ankara’s purchase of the Russian S-400 air missile defense system.
As the new law seeks to adopt a tougher policy in the face of China, as it will prevent the US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross from canceling the listing of the Chinese telecom giant, Huawei, on what is known as the “List of Entities”, which prohibits American companies from selling supplies to foreign companies listed on it and classified as a potential threat to national security, the Commerce Department will testify to Congress that the company is no longer a security threat.