The Senate on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed an $886 billion defense bill that would set Pentagon policy and provide a 5.2 percent pay raise for military personnel, defying the demands of Republicans who failed to attach a raft of deeply partisan restrictions on abortion, transgender care and diversity initiatives.
The vote was 87 to 13 to approve the legislation, which would expand the Defense Department’s ability to compete with China and Russia in hypersonic and nuclear weapons. It would also direct hundreds of millions of dollars in military assistance to Ukraine and Israel.
The Ukraine and Israel programs authorized by the bill are distinct from a $111 billion spending bill to send additional weapons to those countries, among other expenditures, that is currently stalled in Congress.
The defense bill would also extend into 2025 a program that allows the intelligence community to conduct warrantless surveillance of foreign individuals outside the United States. The program has come under fire because of how the F.B.I. has handled the private messages of Americans.
The House is expected to vote on the legislation on Thursday under fast-track procedures that offer opponents fewer chances to scuttle it, but that require a two-thirds majority for passage. Leaders expect that it will pass with support from a coalition of Republicans and Democrats.
Republican and Democratic leaders in the Senate have championed the bill as a fair compromise that prioritizes competition with adversaries and demonstrates support for allies. Some argued that was a particularly important message to send the world at a time when global threats are mounting — particularly considering that Republicans have blocked congressional efforts to approve tens of billions of dollars in emergency military aid for Ukraine and Israel, insisting it be paired with a crackdown on migration at the U.S. border with Mexico.
“Doing the defense authorization bill is more important than ever,” Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, said on Wednesday, after condemning the G.O.P. for its refusal to approve the additional war funding. The defense bill, he added, was the product of “precisely the kind of bipartisan cooperation the American people want from Congress.”
The measure, the result of bipartisan negotiations between the two chambers, has prompted a backlash in the House, where many Republicans are angry at their leaders for agreeing to drop a number of provisions that hard-liners attached over the summer.
Among the provisions dropped from the final compromise was a measure to revoke a policy of providing paid time off and transportation reimbursement for service members who must travel to obtain an abortion or other forms of reproductive health care. The Pentagon implemented the policy after the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, creating a patchwork of abortion laws across the country.
Senator Tommy Tuberville, Republican of Alabama, spent most of this year blocking military promotions in protest before dropping most of his blockade last week.
Proposals that Republicans pushed through the House to ban transgender health care, diversity training officers and drag shows were also jettisoned from the final bill.
“If you are pro-life, against racial division, against taxpayer transgender surgeries, against drag shows… oppose this swamp bill,” Representative Chip Roy, Republican of Texas, wrote in a post on social media.
But on Wednesday, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee urged conservatives in the House to support the bill, arguing that it contained G.O.P. wins.
Among the provisions he highlighted was a salary cap on diversity officers that would force the Pentagon to remove some senior positions dedicated to such initiatives and a new special inspector general to oversee how U.S. military assistance is being used in Ukraine. Republicans have accused the Biden administration of failing to offer them guarantees that the weapons being sent to Ukraine are not falling into the wrong hands.
“The I.G. provision should be enough to allay anybody’s concerns that the money is being misspent,” Senator Roger Wicker, Republican of Mississippi, told reporters Wednesday, adding that he was “pleased that we are getting some credit from a majority of the base about some victories.”
Right-wing Republicans are also outraged about the extension of the warrantless surveillance program. Liberal Democrats have long harbored privacy concerns about the program, which was created under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and many Republicans have turned against it as they have grown hostile to the FB.I. and complained of a federal government “weaponized” against conservatives.
Last month, more than 50 Republicans and Democrats signed a letter indicating their opposition to extending the program without significant changes. The defense bill would extend the program through April 19, but because of a quirk of the statute, that could allow a secret intelligence court to keep it going through April 2025.
A group of conservative Republican senators tried to excise the extension from the defense bill Wednesday night, but the attempt was voted down.
Earlier this week, Speaker Mike Johnson’s plan to have the House vote on two competing bills to overhaul the surveillance program fell apart amid fierce Republican infighting, punting any resolution in that chamber on how or whether to change the program into the new year.