.elementor-panel-state-loading{ display: none; }



House passes $895B defense policy bill with 19.5% pay raise for junior troops

Congress’ annual defense policy bill passed the House of Representatives on Friday after a week of voting on more than 300 amendments, in which conservatives scored several victories on diversity, critical race theory and gender surgery.

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) authorizes funding for military priorities across the Departments of Defense and Energy, with that funding later provided in the defense appropriations bill.

The centerpiece provision of this year’s bill is a 19.5 percent pay increase for junior soldiers.

While the NDAA is traditionally a broad, bipartisan effort, the fight over the culture war provisions has alienated Democrats all the way to the White House, which has issued statements opposing the culture war provisions and other similar measures in the bill.

Marathons in every state: Navy veteran and former NYPD officer runs across the U.S. to support nonprofits

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R) passed the $895 billion NDAA, which authorizes funding for the Department of Defense. (Getty Images)

Republicans argue that rolling back measures on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and other progressive issues would improve military readiness and turn around the severe recruiting crisis the U.S. military currently faces.

Three amendments were passed this week going after the role of DEI in the military: eliminating the role of chief diversity officer, any DEI-related offices and their staff, and freezing future hiring for such roles.

Another amendment that passed would ban the promotion of critical race theory and similar race-based theories in the military.

Two additional bills would prohibit DoD health policies from funding gender reassignment surgery or gender reassignment-related medical care, and a third would prohibit the DoD from funding abortion-related services.

Congress faces pressure from groups seeking to ban contracts with Chinese companies that collect DNA from Americans

Al Asad Air Base

U.S. Army soldiers train at Al Asad Air Base, located in western Iraq. (Source: U.S. Army)

This year’s NDAA authorized $895.2 billion. Military ExpendituresThis represents an increase of $9 billion from fiscal year 2024.

The bill, which passed the House Armed Services Committee by a vote of 57-1 last month, aims to significantly improve the quality of life for military personnel.

The cornerstone of the initiative is a pay increase for junior non-commissioned officers and a 4.5 percent increase for other military ranks.

“very A big pay increase“I think this is truly life-changing, especially for our younger enlistees, and I hope it also inspires others to enlist and to stay,” Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, a Pennsylvania Democrat who sits on the Armed Services Committee and is herself a military veteran, told Fox News Digital earlier this week.

Rep. Don Bacon, a Republican from Nebraska and a former general, another member of the committee, said military families, especially those in areas with a high cost of living, have to turn to food banks to feed their families.

Biden campaign criticizes Trump’s ‘failed’ business record as former president tries to unsettle nation’s top CEO

Biden in Wisconsin

The Biden administration has expressed opposition to parts of the NDAA. (Screenshot/Biden speech)

“These people who work at fast food restaurants make more than our junior soldiers,” Bacon said.

Click here to get the FOX News app

They also pushed back against the Biden administration’s opposition to the 19.5% wage increase.

“I don’t understand why anyone would not want to pay our service members a fair wage, so it’s a little frustrating,” Houlahan said.