President Donald Trump has signed a $716 billion defense policy bill named for John McCain after delivering remarks that failed to mention the ailing senator.
The measure Trump signed Monday at New York’s Fort Drum will boost military pay by 2.6 percent, the largest hike in nine years.
The bill weakens a bid to clamp down on Chinese telecom company ZTE. It allows Trump to waive sanctions against countries that bought Russian weapons and now want to buy U.S. military equipment. The bill provides no money for Trump’s requested Space Force but authorizes the military parade he wants in Washington in November.
The measure also addresses child-on-child sexual assault at U.S. military bases worldwide. The issue was revealed this spring in an Associated Press investigation.
Trump said the bill “is the most significant investment in our military and our war-fighters in modern history.”
Some lawmakers wanted to use the bill to reinstate tough sanctions on ZTE to punish the company for illegally shipping products to Iran and North Korea, but the restrictions included in the final National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, that passed Congress were weaker than earlier versions of the bill.
Trump has lifted an earlier ban on U.S. companies selling to ZTE, allowing China’s second-largest telecommunications equipment maker to resume business and putting him at odds with both Republican and Democratic lawmakers.
Leaders of U.S. intelligence agencies have said they are concerned that ZTE, Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and some other Chinese companies are beholden to the Chinese government or Community Party, raising the risk of espionage.
The White House opposed putting stronger measures against the companies in the bill, and the measures were softened before lawmakers held their final vote.
The NDAA does strengthen the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which reviews proposed foreign investments to weigh whether they threaten national security. That measure was seen as targeting China.
Separately, the NDAA authorizes spending $7.6 billion for 77 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets, made by Lockheed Martin Corp .
Prior to the ceremony Trump watched an air assault demonstration by U.S. troops at Fort Drum.
Information from The Associated Press and Reuters was used in this report.
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