NATIONAL NEWS

Biden signs $886.3 billion defense policy bill into law

Dec 22, 2023, 3:15 PM

President Joe Biden speaks at the Wisconsin Black Chamber of Commerce, on Dec. 20, in Milwaukee. (M...

President Joe Biden speaks at the Wisconsin Black Chamber of Commerce, on Dec. 20, in Milwaukee. (Morry Gash/AP)

(Morry Gash/AP)

WASHINGTON (CNN) — President Joe Biden on Friday signed the $886.3 billion National Defense Authorization Act into law, according to a statement released by the White House.

The defense policy bill provides the largest raise for service members in more than two decades, temporarily extends a controversial surveillance program and strengthens the US posture in the Indo-Pacific region to deter Chinese actions.

It was passed by both the House and Senate and is nearly 3,100 pages long.

“While I am pleased to support the critical objectives of the NDAA, I note that certain provisions of the Act raise concerns,” Biden said in a statement released by the White House on Friday.

Biden repeated previous concerns about barring funds to transfer Guantanamo Bay detainees into the custody of certain foreign nations. Biden also repeated his concerns about certain provisions in the NDAA that could potentially reveal “highly sensitive classified information” to Congress.

“Certain provisions of the Act … require the President and other officials to submit reports and plans to committees of the Congress that will, in the ordinary course, include highly sensitive classified information, including information that could reveal critical intelligence sources or military operational plans or could implicate executive branch confidentiality interests,” Biden said.

The legislation outlines the policy agenda for the Department of Defense and the US military and authorizes spending in line with the Pentagon’s priorities. But it does not appropriate the funding itself.

The final version of the bill includes multiple measures aimed at “ending wokeness in the military,” according to a summary provided by the Republican-led House Armed Services Committee.

Funding for a separate $105 billion national security package that would provide more assistance to Israel and Ukraine continues to be a point of contention in Congress, with Senate Republicans insisting that more foreign aid be paired with major border security policy changes. While there have been talks to try to find consensus, no bipartisan deal has been reached.

The defense authorization bill would extend the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative through the end of 2026 and authorize $300 million for the program in the current fiscal year and the next one. The program provides funding for the federal government to pay industry to produce weapons and security assistance to send to Ukraine, rather than drawing directly from US stockpiles of weapons.


This story has been updated with additional reporting.

CNN’s Tami Luhby contributed to this report.

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Biden signs $886.3 billion defense policy bill into law