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US lawmakers set out defense bill with Taiwan provisions

Military training assistance for Taiwan authorized to defend against possible Chinese invasion

US Capitol Hill. 

US Capitol Hill.  (Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — U.S. House and Senate lawmakers unveiled an annual defense policy bill late on Wednesday (Dec. 7), which includes provisions to aid in Taiwan’s national defense.

The Senate and House Armed Services Committees released the 3,000-page text for the Fiscal 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) late on Wednesday, Reuters reported. This year’s NDAA, which lays out Pentagon policy priorities, authorizes a record US$886 billion (NT$27.77 trillion) in spending, a 3% increase compared to last year, according to Reuters.

The text, which is called a conference report, is a compromise between different versions passed by the House and Senate earlier this year, according to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ). The bill calls for a 5.2% pay raise for service members.

The NDAA authorizes military training assistance for Taiwan to help defend itself against a possible Chinese invasion. It also calls for a four-month extension for purchases of hardware, including ships, helicopters, submarines, rockets, bombs, and other weapons, per Reuters.

The NDAA has been passed every year by Congress since 1961, Reuters noted. The bill now has to pass through the Senate and House.

The Senate is expected to vote on the bill next week, and the House later this month. It is expected to pass both chambers and be signed into law by President Joe Biden.