FILE PHOTO: Servicemen of the U.S. and Ukrainian armies attend the opening ceremony of the “RAPID TRIDENT-2021” military exercise at Ukraine’s International Peacekeeping Security Centre near Yavoriv in the Lviv region, Ukraine September 20, 2021. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich/File Photo
December 7, 2021
By Patricia Zengerle
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers included a range of efforts to push back against Russia and China in a massive annual defense bill released on Tuesday, including $300 million for Ukraine’s military and a statement of support for the defense of Taiwan.
The fiscal 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, authorizes $770 billion in military spending, including provisions such as a 2.7% pay increase for the troops, reforms of the military justice system to combat sexual assault and initiatives to address geopolitical threats.
The NDAA, which normally passes with strong bipartisan support, is closely watched by a broad swath of industry and other interests because it is one of the only major pieces of legislation that becomes law every year and because it addresses such a wide range of issues.
This year’s bill was released shortly after U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin held two hours of virtual talks on Ukraine and other disputes.
This year’s bill includes $300 million for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which provides support to Ukraine’s armed forces, addresses strong support for NATO, includes $4 billion for the European Defense Initiative and $150 million for Baltic security cooperation.
On China, the bill includes a statement of congressional support for the defense of Taiwan and a ban on the Department of Defense procuring products produced with forced labor from China’s Xinjiang region.
The United States has labeled China’s treatment of its Uyghur Muslim minority in Xinjiang as genocide, and lawmakers have been pushing a ban on imports of products that may have been made with forced labor from Uyghurs. China denies abusing minorities and dismisses the genocide charge as part of slanderous assertions about conditions in Xinjiang.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle, Editing by William Maclean)