The US House of Representatives passed a defence policy bill on Friday without some controversial provisions that had worried Democrats, but Republican lawmakers said they expect to revisit the issues once Republican Donald Trump is in the White House.
The National Defense Authorisation Act (NDAA) passed by 375-34, sending it to the US Senate, which is expected to vote next week on the $618.7 billion measure setting policy for the Pentagon.
After months of negotiation, the House and Senate Armed Services committees unveiled a compromise version of the NDAA this week that did not include provisions such as the Russell Amendment, a “religious freedom” measure that Democrats said would have let federal contractors discriminate against workers on the basis of gender or sexual orientation, overturning an executive order by Democratic President Barack Obama.
During debate before Friday’s vote, some Republicans said they wanted to revisit the issue. Republicans will control both houses of Congress and the White House after Trump is sworn in on Jan 20.
“We look forward to working directly with the incoming administration to address the concerns, not just for the DoD. (Department of Defence), but for the government nationwide,” said Republican Representative Mac Thornberry, the House Armed Services Committee chairman.
The NDAA also includes $3.2bn more for the Pentagon than Obama requested in his budget bill. Some Democrats objected to the increase, part of a continuing debate between the two parties over whether defence spending should be matched by non-defence spending.
Thornberry also said he hoped the Trump administration would send Congress a supplemental budget request to provide even more money for the Pentagon.
Courtesy : Dawn News