"It must also protect the Black men and women who are disproportionately the target of extremism and a biased military justice system.”
The House passed a finalized version of the $768 defense authorization bill late Tuesday night with overwhelming majority support, moving legislation hamstrung by delays, amendment fights and political discord one step closer to becoming law before the end of the year, the Washington Post reports.
The legislation directs an independent review of the Afghanistan war’s legacy and errors, and establishes a new means for the military to prosecute sexual assault and related crimes, according to a final draft of the annual defense authorization bill released hours before the House passed it by a vote of 363 to 70.
But several key policy provisions that had won clear majority support in Congress — including to more broadly reform the military justice system, require women to register with the Selective Service and repeal the Iraq War authorization — were discarded as lawmakers in the House and Senate raced to strike a compromise on the measure that dictates funding for the Pentagon and other defense operations in the year ahead. Their omission caused an uproar among some lawmakers, even as others cheered the legislation as comprehensive and historic.
The bill next heads to the Senate, where it is expected to pass and move on to the White House for President Biden’s approval.
In a break with common practice, this year’s final bill was cobbled together behind closed doors by the leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services committees before the full Senate, stymied by scheduling delays and a dispute over amendments, was able to vote on its version of the legislation.
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