Earlier this month the Senate and the House voted overwhelmingly for the National Defense Authorization Act, and on Monday President Biden added his signature and authorized $770 billion in defense spending in 2022.
But there were several issues that the president did not wholeheartedly endorse, including Sections 1032, the “extension of prohibition on use of funds for transfer or release of individuals detained at United States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to certain countries.” He also took issue with 1033, the “extension of prohibition on use of funds for transfer or release of individuals detained at United States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the United States.”
He spelled out his concerns, noting that they would make it difficult to comply with court judgments that have directed the release of a detainee on a writ of habeas corpus and “constrain the flexibility of the executive branch with respect to its engagement in delicate negotiations with foreign countries.” On both restrictions, he urged Congress to eliminate them as soon as possible.
Included in the bill are measures to overhaul the military justice system, particularly on matters of sexual assault and harassment. “The president believes that this legislation takes groundbreaking steps to improve the response and…prevention of sexual assault in the military,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters traveling with the president to Kansas City, Missouri, earlier this month.
A 2.7% increase for service members and Defense Department civilian employees will be included in the final version of the bill. Funds are also allocated to examine the war in Afghanistan and military aid to Ukraine.
Several key provisions did not make it into the final bill, including an amendment to repeal the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq, sanctions against countries participating in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, and additional sanctions against Russia.