Kennedy supports Senate passage of defense bill with Republican wins

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today released the following statement upon supporting the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which the Senate voted to pass today: 

“This year’s NDAA provides better pay for our troops and better resources for them to defend America and our allies. As authoritarian regimes like Russia and China become more aggressive by the day, we must modernize America’s armed forces and make sure misguided woke policies don’t handicap our military. Not only does this bill increase defense spending, but Republicans also stripped a bevy of harmful Democrat priorities out so that our troops can focus on what they do best,” said Kennedy.

The 2022 NDAA:

  • Increases topline defense spending by $25 billion above the amount in President Biden’s budget. This spending increase includes a 35 percent increase for military construction and a 20 percent increase for shipbuilding.
  • Gives the troops a pay raise of 2.7 percent.
  • Counters China’s aggression by supporting Taiwan and other Indo-Pacific allies by authorizing $7.1 billion for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative.
  • Counters China’s aggression and promotes democracy by requiring a report on U.S. efforts to help Taiwan defend itself.
  • Counters Russia’s aggression by increasing funding for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative by $50 million.
  • Authorizes $27.8 billion for nuclear weapons programs and makes modernizing nuclear arms a priority.
  • Establishes a commission to study the war in Afghanistan, including the disastrous withdrawal under President Biden.
  • Maintains longstanding prohibitions on closing Guantanamo Bay and transferring terrorists to U.S. soil.
  • Protects service members from being dishonorably discharged for refusing to get the Covid-19 vaccine.

The final version of the NDAA also removes several controversial measures that Democrats attempted to include in the bill, including provisions that would:

  • Force women to register for the draft.
  • Mandate that the TRICARE program cover the morning-after pill.
  • Promote “Red Flag” laws that could strip veterans of their Second Amendment rights without due process.
  • Strip F-35 aircraft from the Air National Guard.
  • Require the Department of Defense (DOD) to hire “gender advisors.”
  • Impose a strict, burdensome “diversity and inclusion” regime on DOD contractors.
  • Mandate that the DOD track “extremist activities” among troops and prohibit troop ties to “extremist organizations” without providing a definition of “extremist.”
  • Make the mayor of Washington, D.C. the commander-in-chief of the District’s National Guard, which is a federal entity.
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