House Passes $733 Billion Defense Bill, Including 3.1% Troop Pay Raise for Troops

The House passed a $733 billion defense policy bill — $17 billion short of what the White House wanted — following a debate in which Democrats taunted Republicans that they would be voting against a 3.1% pay raise for the military.

“You all are going to vote against the pay raise,” Rep. Adam Smith, D-Washington, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said to the Republican side of the House in opposing a motion to recommit the bill (H.R. 2500) in a failed Republican effort to boost the spending total to $740 billion.

Rep. Mikie Sherrill, D-New Jersey, a former Navy helicopter pilot, said the 3.1% pay raise is “exactly what the president asked for,” and the highest in 10 years.

Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Louisiana, the House minority whip, later said on the House floor that accusing the Republicans of opposing the 3.1% pay raise was a false issue. The raise was included in Republican proposals and “was already going to happen,” he said.

The final vote on the House version of the National Defense Authorization legislation was 220-197, without a single Republican voting in favor.

The Senate last month voted 86-8 to pass a $750 billion version of the NDAA, which also included the 3.1% pay raise.

The impasse over the spending total and a range of other defense issues could once again set the stage for a lengthy partisan battle to reconcile the two competing bills, which could trigger the threats of government shutdowns and continuing resolutions that plagued passage of the NDAA in years past.

This story will be updated.

— Richard Sisk can be reached at

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