NEW JERSEY — The House of Representatives greenlit a massive US military spending bill on Thursday, winning the support of nine of New Jersey’s 12 lawmakers.
The House passed the Annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) by a vote of 329 to 101. With strong support from both camps, 180 Democrats and 149 Republicans passed the bill.
The House version of the NDAA offers nearly $839 billion in total defense spending for fiscal 2023, topping President Joe Biden’s $813 billion proposal.
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In New Jersey, the NDAA received “yes” votes from Donald Norcross, Andy Kim, Chris Smith, Josh Gottheimer, Tom Malinowski, Alvio Siles, Bill Paskrel Jr., Donald Payne Jr., and Mickey Sherrill.
There were three Garden State representatives who voted against the NDAA this year. Democrats Bonnie Watson Coleman and Frank Pallone and Republican Jeff Van Drew.
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Each year, members of Congress roll out new versions of the bill, establishing defense priorities and providing guidance on how military funding can be used. Congress has passed her NDAA nearly 60 years in a row, and typically every year it gets support from all but a handful of opponents in New Jersey.
The Senate should pass its own version. The two houses will then settle their differences in the coming months and send the final version to President Biden’s desk. Another appropriation bill with matching dollar figures must also be passed for the increase to become a reality.
There were both cheers and heckles at this year’s NDAA. Some say the bill will enhance national security, support military personnel and create jobs. Critics, however, question whether an increase in the military budget is a good use of taxpayer money at a time when every penny counts.
This year’s $839 billion NDAA authorizes only one year of funding, rivaling some of the largest spending proposals in recent U.S. history. President Biden’s Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act, which gained support from every member of the New Jersey Legislature, hits $1.2 trillion, funding his five years for roads, bridges and other critical sites in the country doing.
‘An important part of the law’
Rep. Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11), a member of the New Jersey legislature, welcomed Thursday’s vote on the NDAA, saying it represented “the largest wage increase for military personnel in decades.”
A former Navy helicopter pilot, Sherrill is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, which voted in June to raise the top line of spending plans by $37 billion.
“The U.S. military employs 1.3 million Americans, 10,000 of whom are in New Jersey, and the NDAA is an important piece of legislation that has economic benefits for the nation as a whole,” lawmakers previously said.
“The National Defense Authorization Act not only strengthens national security and sets military personnel priorities, but it also invests in jobs, families, innovation, and modernization,” Sherrill said after Thursday’s vote.
This includes Morris County’s Picatinny Arsenal, which contributes “well over $1 billion” to New Jersey’s economy each year, lawmakers said.
Sherrill told the NDAA:
- “There are provisions to strengthen registered apprenticeships and workforce development.”
- “There are steps to make childcare more affordable for military families.
- “Making important progress to increase U.S. energy independence and reduce reliance on foreign energy – Pentagon to create strategy to eliminate reliance on Russian-produced energy” including provisions that direct
Other NDAA support includes:
Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-1) – “[Thursday’s] The NDAA’s House passage is a testament to our commitment to securing America’s defense by supporting the hardworking military families and workers who serve and protect our country. This year’s defense bill includes bold initiatives to expand the talent pipeline and support talented and skilled military and civilian workers. My “Buy American” clause ensures that we maintain the ability to produce critical defense materials domestically and are protected from disruptions in global supply chains. I am pleased to report that this bill passed my amendment to make federal contractors a minimum wage of $15 an hour, ensuring a fair minimum wage for hundreds of thousands of American workers. increase. “
Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-3) – “The last place where partisan politics belongs is national security, and I am proud to work with colleagues from both parties to achieve important victories for servicemen, their families, New Jersey, and our economy. Our nation’s budget is happy that this bill is prioritizing people — giving them pay raises, lowering costs to better meet the childcare needs of military families, security guards and Expand reservist health benefits, expand workforce development and vocational training We invest in the people who make our country strong and keep us safe. I look forward to continuing to work on this in a bipartisan manner for the national security of the United States.
Congressman Tom Malinowski (NJ-7) – “This year’s Defense Bill demonstrates a strong commitment to democracy, global security, and our military personnel. I am proud that I am taking the lead steps that reflect our views, as far as imposing them on our national and international values.”
Congressman Donald Payne (NJ -10).
Payne said the amendment he sponsored, the Payment Choice Act, “guarantees the right to pay in cash for all retail transactions under $2,000.”
“Too many [businesses] Lawmakers want to reject America’s currency in favor of digital payments.” Now it seems companies want to eliminate them entirely. “
“Trillion Dollar Defense Budget”
However, other New Jersey legislators have not stepped in when it comes to raising the U.S. military budget this year.
“The $839 billion included in this year’s NDAA not only exceeded the already bloated defense budget, it was more than the Biden administration asked for,” said a spokeswoman for Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman. told Patch.
“A defense budget this large is a policy failure when families in this country struggle to put food on the table,” the spokesperson added.
“I support a strong defense budget that keeps us safe here at home, works closely with our allies abroad, and above all, lives up to our commitments to our military personnel, veterans, and their families.
“Unfortunately, the bill we voted for included an additional $37 billion in spending that the Pentagon didn’t even ask for in the first place.” We must, but we must impose sensible limits on runaway defense spending that only benefits large contractors.”
It’s a concern that some members of the House Armed Services Committee also shared while marking up the bill last month.
When the committee voted to raise the top line by tens of millions of dollars, Rep. Adam Smith of Washington protested that “more money is not always the answer.”
“President Biden’s budget request is responsive to our national defense agenda, and the Pentagon does not need more than it asks,” Smith said. “I’ve always believed there needs to be more discipline in this department. It’s not the money.”
Rep. Law Khanna of California also questioned increased military spending in the United States. Kanna wrote:
“Part of me wonders when the Amendment will have a $1 trillion defense budget because that seems to be where we are heading. is basically adding $30 billion to what the president wants. Is that what we want in this country? Another trillion dollars? More than half of our discretionary budget accounts for everything else this country has. needs, that is, more spent on defense than on security needs.”
“Let me be clear, no country in the world spends more than half of its discretionary budget on defense,” Khanna added.
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