U.S. lawmakers set $717 billion defence policy bill with eye on Turkey, Russia, China

Vastavam web: U.S. House of Representatives lawmakers released details on Friday of a $717 billion (£530.2 billion) annual defence policy bill, including efforts to compete with Russia and China and a measure to temporarily halt weapons sales to Turkey.The House Armed Services Committee is due to debate next week the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which authorizes the level of defence spending and sets policies controlling how the funding is used.

One of the few pieces of major legislation passed by Congress every year, the NDAA is used as a vehicle for a broad range of policy measures, as well as determining everything from military pay levels and benefits to which ships or aircraft will be modernized, purchased or discontinued.On Russia, the proposed NDAA for fiscal year 2019 includes provisions such as imposing new sanctions on Russia’s arms industry in response to treaty violations, prohibiting military-to-military cooperation and providing more funding for cyber warfare.

But it also includes a rule, backed by President Donald Trump’s fellow Republicans, that would allow Trump to end some sanctions imposed on Russia in legislation Congress passed overwhelmingly last summer despite the president’s objections.Washington has recently made a series of moves aimed at stopping or reducing access by Huawei and ZTE to the U.S. economy amid allegations the telecommunications equipment companies could be using their technology to spy on Americans.

The legislation would also ask the Defense Department to provide Congress with a report on the relationship between the United States and Turkey, and would block the sale of major defence equipment until the report was complete.The NDAA is several steps from becoming law. The final version of the legislation will be a compromise reached later this year by House and Senate negotiators between separate versions of the bill approved in the two chambers.