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House approves military pay raises, rescinding COVID-19 vaccine mandate

Lloyd Austin
Posted at 12:28 PM, Dec 08, 2022

In a bipartisan vote, the House approved its annual military spending bill for 2023, including pay raises for those working in the Department of Defense and ending the military's COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

The bill passed by a 350-80 vote.

The legislation includes a 4.6% pay increase for both military and civilian workers in the Department of Defense.

The bill provides $858 billion in funding for next year, which is $45 billion more than the Biden administration requested.

“We are pleased to announce we’ve come to a bipartisan, bicameral agreement on this year’s National Defense Authorization Act. This year’s agreement continues the Armed Services Committees’ 62-year tradition of working together to support our troops and strengthen America’s national security. We urge Congress to pass the NDAA quickly and the President to sign it when it reaches his desk,” members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committee said in a joint statement.

The bill came after several Republicans threatened to hold up the legislation if the COVID-19 vaccination policy wasn't lifted.

“Our obligation is to defend the fighting men and women of the military, and so I'm standing with my colleagues. I believe we will have 41 Republicans who say we will not vote to take up the National Defense Authorization unless this body votes on protecting the servicemen and women,” said Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

There have been previous efforts to eliminate the COVID-19 mandate in the military. A bill was introduced late last year that was co-sponsored by over 90 Republican members of the House. That bill was not taken up by the Democratic-held House.

The annual National Defense Authorization Act generally gets strong bipartisan support. Last year’s defense bill passed the Senate by an 88-11 margin. It also passed the House with a 363-70 margin.

Last year’s bill provided $778 billion for military use.