Update: Republicans Celebrate NDAA Victories! Eliminating Vax Requirement and More.

The $858 billion defense bill, which will regulate military and defense spending in 2023, has been enacted by Congress, and Republicans are celebrating several achievements, including increased protection for federal judges and more funding to combat Russia and China.

The repeal of the military’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement and the prohibition of censorship of military-consultation films like “Top Gun” by Hollywood to appease China’s communist government have been cited as Republican victories.

After passing the House last week, the Senate finally approved the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on Thursday. After getting overwhelming support from both parties, the law is on its way to the White House for President Biden’s signature.

SASC Chairman Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., hailed the measure’s passing on Thursday, saying conservatives in Oklahoma and throughout the U.S. can be proud of what they’ve won in this year’s bill to safeguard America from China and Russia and provide our warriors what they need to accomplish their jobs. Inhofe termed Biden’s proposed military budget “woefully insufficient,” but the NDAA included $45 billion.

The new bill gives all military and civilian employees of the Department of Defense a 4.6% pay raise, reopens the Survivor Benefit Plan for the first time since 2005, and raises special and incentive payments and bonuses by more than 30% to show support for American troops and their families.

The measure prevents the premature retirement of combat assets like the F-22 fighter, among other things, to improve military preparedness. It provides an additional $7 billion for military building projects, including $5 billion to increase the size of the U.S. Navy’s fleet.

The SASC claims that the NDAA sends a concrete signal to the Chinese people that the United States supports their freedom to view uncensored movies by prohibiting Hollywood from bending to Chinese censorship for movies in which the U.S. military participates.

Suppose the Secretary of Defense has information that a film, TV program, or other entertainment production complies with or is likely to comply with a demand from the People’s Republic of China or the Chinese Communist Party to restrict the project’s content to benefit them. In that circumstances, no NDAA monies may be utilized to assist the initiative knowingly.

In light of China’s ambitions to triple its nuclear arsenal through the continued development of the nuclear Sea-Launched Cruise Missile, the NDAA likewise places a premium on nuclear modernization in the United States. Inhofe said that Russia’s advantages in tactical nuclear weapons and China’s substantial nuclear growth necessitate a stronger deterrent.

The Taiwan Enhanced Resilience Act, included in this law, allocates $10 billion to assist Taiwan, a vital U.S. partner in the Indo-Pacific, in the face of persistent Chinese aggression.

This bill fully funds all existing and future U.S. nuclear modernization initiatives. In particular, it would prevent the Biden administration from unilaterally disarming nuclear weapons by delaying the retirement of the B83 nuclear gravity bomb until a program to replace it was ready.

The NDAA includes the Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act to ensure the safety of federal judges and their families. In honor of Judge Esther Salas’s late son, Daniel Anderl, who was killed in his home by an angry litigant, the act bears his name.

The Heritage Foundation and other conservative organizations pushed for a clause in the NDAA that would prevent public funding from covering the cost of military members’ travel to have abortions. Still, this measure was ultimately left out of the bill’s final compromise.

The White House said Friday morning following the Senate vote that removing the military vaccination mandate from the NDAA was a ‘mistake.’ However, they avoided answering if President Joe Biden would veto the bill.