On December 8, by a vote of 350-80, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a defense bill that provides $858 billion for national defense and would rescind the Pentagon’s Covid vaccine mandate. The legislation now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass easily.
It is reported that the bill negotiated by members of both houses of Congress will raise military personnel salaries by 4.6% and increase the Pentagon’s defense budget by 45 billion based on President Biden’s request. It would increase funding for a security initiative in Ukraine and establish a defense modernization program for Taiwan, authorizing up to 45 billion based on President Biden′s request. It would increase funding for a security initiative in Ukraine and establish a defense modernization program for Taiwan, authorizing up to 10 billion in security assistance over the next five years in response to continued Russian attacks on Ukraine and growing concerns about Communist China’s aggression against Taiwan.
Very importantly, the bill will end the Covid vaccine mandatory if it is passed in the Senate. Some Republicans also said they will push this further when they take over the House in January to find ways to reinstate service members who were expelled for refusing to be vaccinated or provide them with compensation.
Also included in the legislation is a provision that blocks the federal government to use semiconductor products and services provided by Communist China companies, including chipmaker Yangtze Memory Technologies Corp, or, YMTC.