House passes massive annual defense spending bill

Posted at 1:26 PM, Jul 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-12 16:27:10-04

The House passed a massive annual defense spending bill Friday after some uncertainty over whether Democrats could get the bill across the finish line.

The vote was 220-197. Eight Democrats voted against the bill, and no Republicans supported it.

“This legislation keeps America strong with vital action to improve the economic security and well-being of our service members and families, including a much-needed pay raise,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on the floor in support of the bill.

The $733 billion package, known as the annual National Defense Authorization Act, falls short of the President’s request for $750 billion, a level that has already passed the Senate in its version.

Progressives threatened to take down the measure over opposition to the top line number and other provisions. Democratic leaders allowed votes on a number of key amendments lobbied for by progressives. Among them were two significant proposed policy shifts that were adopted, including a bipartisan ban on using funds to go to war with Iran without congressional approval and a repeal of the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force.

The House and Senate are expected to go to conference over the two bills, where several of the Democratic-passed amendments are expected to be cut.

The White House had issued a veto threat for the House bill before the vote.

“This bill will never become law. This was the repeat of when we left two weeks ago with the supplemental,” said House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy. “You thought they would learn their lesson from that.”