The U.S. Congress allocates 300 million U.S. dollars for Ukraine to speak to China in a large-scale defense bill Reuters

© Reuters. File picture: On September 20, 2021, members of the U.S. and Ukrainian armies attended the opening ceremony of the “RAPID TRIDENT-2021” military exercise held at the Ukrainian International Peacekeeping and Security Center near Yavoriv, ​​Lviv region, Ukraine. Reuters/

Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON (Reuters)-US legislators released a huge annual defense bill on Tuesday that included efforts to counter Russia and China, proposed to provide US$300 million in funding for the Ukrainian army, and issued a statement in support of the defense of Taiwan.

But they omitted some measures that have received strong support from Congress, including the proposal to impose mandatory sanctions on Russia’s Beixi 2 natural gas pipeline, and the plan to allow women to participate in military conscription for the first time.

The compromised version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2022 approved $770 billion in military spending, $25 billion more than President Joe Biden’s request, and about 5% higher than last year’s budget.

In addition to the strategy to deal with geopolitical threats, the plan also includes a 2.7% increase in the salaries of the troops and the purchase of more aircraft and naval vessels to send signals to Russia and China.

NDAA is usually passed with the strong support of both parties. Because of its wide scope, and because it is one of the only major pieces of legislation that becomes law each year, it has received close attention from a wide range of industries and other interest groups.

This year’s bill was issued shortly after US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin had a two-hour virtual meeting on Ukraine and other disputes.

The 2022 NDAA includes the provision of US$300 million for the Ukrainian Security Assistance Initiative, which provides support to the Ukrainian armed forces, including US$4 billion for the European Defense Initiative, and proposes US$150 million for Baltic Sea security cooperation.

It does not include provisions that force Biden to impose sanctions on the $11 billion Nord Stream 2 pipeline to transport Russian natural gas directly to Germany. Supporters of this measure believe that the pipeline will be harmful to European allies.

Legislators also omitted an amendment prohibiting Americans from purchasing Russian sovereign debt.

Biden’s fellow Democrats control the House of Representatives and the Senate. The White House has stated that if Russia invades Ukraine, government officials support sanctions but do not support terms that may threaten transatlantic relations.

Follow China

On the Chinese side, the bill includes a US$7.1 billion allocation for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative and a statement from Congress supporting Taiwan’s defense, as well as prohibiting the Ministry of National Defense from purchasing forced labor products from China’s Xinjiang region.

The United States has called China’s treatment of Uyghur Muslim minorities in Xinjiang as genocide, and legislators have been pushing for a ban on the import of products made from forced labor by Uyghurs. China considers the allegations of genocide to be a slander on the situation in Xinjiang.

The compromise text omitted a proposal to require women to register for the military draft contained in the earlier version. The proposal was strongly opposed by social conservative legislators, who believed that it would erode traditional gender roles and possibly hinder the entire NDAA.

The compromise bill includes a comprehensive reform of the military justice system to decide whether to prosecute rape, sexual assault and other major crimes in the hands of military commanders.

This change was a partial victory for activists because it did not deprive military commanders of the power to prosecute all felonies. Prior to this, advocates led by Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (Kirsten Gillibrand) had worked for several years to deal with thousands of cases of sexual assault among service personnel in order to change the situation. System, many of which have never been prosecuted.

Gillibrand said she still hopes to vote separately on her complete proposal.

To become law for the 61st consecutive year, NDAA must be passed in the House of Representatives and Senate, and signed into law by Biden.

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