On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 778), setting the table for its U.S. Senate passage this week.
Notably, the NDAA does not include ABC-opposed provisions from a House-passed version of the bill that would have debarred federal contractors for Fair Labor Standards Act and National Labor Relations Act violations, established restrictive local workforce requirements for federal contractors on military construction projects and implemented a preference for unionized federal contractors performing U.S. Department of Defense contracts. An ABC-led coalition representing the interests of federal contractors advocated for removal of these controversial provisions and helped ensure they were stripped from the NDAA in an agreement between the two chambers.
Passed every year for more than half a century, this year’s version of the NDAA includes a record $858 billion in spending priorities, eclipsing last year’s $768 billion budget.
Additionally, the NDAA did not include Sen. Joe Manchin’s permitting reform legislation, the recently amended Building American Energy Security Act of 2022.
While the NDAA appears on track to pass this year, Republicans have already won at least one major concession. The version the House passed Thursday with overwhelming bipartisan support ends the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for service members; last month, a group of Senate Republicans threatened to block the bill unless it ended the policy, which some Republicans claim has caused staffing issues due to vaccine-related discharges.