U.S. Congress Approves a Record $858 billion Defense Policy Bill

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The total sum of the defense policy bill is more than $110 billion higher as compared to last year’s figure. The bill, in particular, provides for the allocation of $6 billion to “contain” Russia in Europe, as well as an additional $800 million in aid to Ukraine, rbc.ru reports. The Armed Services Committees of both houses of Congress have agreed to a $858 billion draft defense budget for the fiscal 2023 (started Oct. 1), which may be a record in the history of the country. Congressmen and senators will now have to vote on the agreed document before President Joe Biden signs it. The $858 billion amount includes: $317.3 billion for operations and maintenance (including capital assets); $174.5 billion for military personnel; $161.3 billion for military procurement; $138.6 billion for research and development; $30.5 billion for nuclear energy activities; $16.5 billion for military construction and family housing. In particular, the draft provides for $6 billion to “contain” Russia in Europe, an additional $800 million in aid to Ukraine, a five-year extension of the U.S. ban on military cooperation with Russia, and an order to seek Russia's exclusion from international organizations, including the G20. Additionally, the draft budget imposes secondary sanctions on individuals who “knowingly engage in significant gold transactions with Russia”, including gold from Russian Central Bank reserves held outside the country. The draft also includes initiatives to reduce dependence on Russian energy supplies. In 2021, the U.S. defense budget was $740.5 billion (about 3.5% of the country’s GDP), in 2020 - $740 billion, and in 2019 - $738 billion. The most of the U.S. GDP was spent on defense during the Second World War - from 30 to 41% annually. After the start of the “special operation” in Ukraine, Washington multiplied both arms supplies and financial aid to Kyiv. The day before, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced that Washington has already provided Ukraine with more than $19 billion and engaged allies and partners to support Kyiv. Politico, citing sources, previously reported on Pentagon concerns that a potential refusal to approve the defense budget for fiscal year 2023 by the U.S. Congress could stop military aid to Ukraine as early as spring. The Pentagon believes that the Continuing Resolution (CR) might limit its ability to provide assistance to Ukraine, including ammunition supplies. In addition, the modernization of the industrial base for several key systems, including Abrams tanks as well as M777 howitzers, which the U.S. provides to Ukraine, could be delayed. Point