House Committee Passes $884 Billion Defense Bill, Here’s What It Includes

The House Armed Services Committee last week passed a draft version of the National Defense Authorization Act for the 2025 fiscal year, paving the way for the bill to be headed to the House floor for a full vote.

While the annual NDAA doesn’t include nearly the number of amendments that it included last year — many of which showed the real struggle over a culture war — there are still many components to it.

Officially referred to as the Servicemember Quality of Life Improvement and National Defense Authorization Act, the bill includes many measures that a special commission of the House recommended that are meant to improve conditions that U.S. troops experience.

One of the main components of that is a raise for all junior enlisted personnel of 19.5%.

As the measure was being passed out of the committee, Republican Representative Don Bacon of Nebraska, one of the co-leaders of the commission, said that its passage shows that the HASC “remains one of the last true bastions of bipartisan policymaking in the United States government.”

In a statement released after the bill passed out of the committee, the chair of the HASC, Republican Representative Mike Rogers of Alabama, also praised the NDAA. He said:

“The most important investment we can make is in the foundation of our military: our people. No servicemember should have to worry about making ends meet, putting food on the table or having safe housing.”

All servicemembers will receive a 4.5% raise under the draft version of the NDAA, which also includes $1.5 billion that will go toward improving housing for military members. Those two things are what Democratic Representative Adam Smith of Washington, the ranking member of the HASC, said he was proud of. In a statement, he said:

“This year’s defense bill prioritizes the heart of America’s national defense by investing in people.”

While there are a lot of parts of the recently-passed draft NDAA that received overwhelming support, there were still some amendments that are controversial.

One is a mandate that would force the Department of Defense to create a robust plan for re-hiring servicemembers who were fired for refusing to get a COVID-19 vaccine at the height of the pandemic.

The amendment was first offered by Republican Representative Nancy Mace of South Carolina, who said recently:

“The Department has so far failed to recruit a significant number of servicemembers separated under the COVID mandate. This is unacceptable. These individuals possess valuable skills, and many already have training that our military desperately needs.”

Another amendment that made its way into the draft bill is one brought forth by Democratic Representative Seth Moulton of Massachusetts. It will require the federal government to assess what the impact was of publicizing information earlier this year regarding Russia’s deploying a nuclear weapon in space.

Before the NDAA can be adopted into law, the full House must first pass it. Following that, lawmakers have to reconcile differences at an NDAA conference that will be held with members of the Senate.