WASHINGTON — The House on Thursday passed the $840 billion National Defense Authorization Act, on a 329-101 vote, after attaching a record 650 amendments.
Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Virginia, 2nd District), who serves as Vice Chair of the House Armed Services Committee, successfully pushed through a $37 billion topline increase when the bill advanced through that panel on a 57-1 vote last month.
The entire Hampton Roads delegation -- Luria, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Virginia Third District), Rep. Donald McEachin (D-Virginia, 4th District) and Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Virginia, 1st District) -- all voted yes for the bill.
Armed Services Committee leaders praised the bill as being "truly bipartisan."
"I think the focus as we go forward is obviously the men and women who serve and making sure they have the tools they need to do the job that we ask them to do," said Rep. Adam Smith (ID-Washington), the panel's chairman.
"Without a doubt, these men and women are the greatest force for good the world has ever seen," said Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Alabama), the panel's Ranking Member. "Providing the authorities and resources our warfighters need to defend our nation is the greatest responsibility we have in Congress."
Among other things, the House NDAA provides a 4.6% pay raise for the troops, authorizes two new Virginia Class attack submarines, provides full funding for the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine, and puts the Navy back on track to building a 355-ship fleet.
The Senate won't vote on its version of the NDAA until September at the earliest. Then, the House and Senate appropriations committees will still have to agree on funding for the final compromise.