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Increased $768 billion 2022 defense bill overwhelmingly passes, including by local Congress members

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The U.S. Capitol in Washington is shrouded in mist, Friday night, Dec. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Over the past week, both houses of Congress passed a $768.2 billion U.S. defense bill for 2022.

The National Defense Authorization Act overwhelmingly passed the House last week by a 363-70 vote. This week, the Senate passed it 89-10.

The amount was $24 billion more than President Joe Biden requested.

All Wisconsin and Minnesota Senators voted in favor of the bill, as did both area U.S. House members in both states.

Looking at each Congresspersons’ statements, none mentioned the total cost of the bill or how it was going to be paid for.

Most statements that could be found online talked in some form of “supporting the troops,” though Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin did produce a long list of where millions of dollars would be spent.

The only other Congressperson to mention cost was Republican House Rep. Jim Hagedorn of Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District. The first-term Rep. said early in a Facebook post that spending was going to increase by $25 billion. The defense bill is not mentioned on Hagedorn’s website.

You can search and find a statement from Democrat Ron Kind of Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District. But it does not show up on the “press release” page of his website.

Kind stated: “Our brave men and women in uniform, veterans, and their families deserve the very best our nation has to offer,” said Rep. Ron Kind. “It’s critical that we continue to make sure those who courageously defend our nation have all the resources they need to safely and effectively do their jobs. To that end, I’m proud to vote for the bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act to protect and support our troops.”

Republican Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson stated on his site: “I voted for the bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) primarily to support the finest among us, the men and women of our armed services. At a time when we are facing increasing threats from our adversaries abroad, members of our military should be fully funded to defend this nation. One especially important provision was needed because the Biden administration is causing mass firings around the country due to the pointless vaccine mandates. This provision protects our service members who choose not to get vaccinated from being dishonorably discharged.”

The latest info that could be found from either of Minnesota’s Democratic Senators — Tina Smith and Amy Klobuchar — is a joint statement that appears to be some provision to the bill.

Also, that statement doesn’t show up on Smith’s website under “press releases” or “newsletters.” And there is no mention of the National Defense Authorization Act under those links, either.

Klobuchar’s website doesn’t have any info on the defense budget.

Host of WIZM's La Crosse Talk PM | University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point graduate | Hometown: Greenville, Wis | Avid noonball basketball player and sand volleyballer in La Crosse

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