Senate passes 2019 NDAA

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The 2019 defense bill has passed the Senate and is headed to the White House.

The Senate passed the conference report for the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act on Aug. 1-- a week after the House did.

But the final passage did not go quietly. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) voiced his dissent on the Senate floor, saying this was the first time he’d voted against an NDAA and denouncing the bill for not taking up a provision that levied penalties on Chinese telecom manufacturer ZTE.  Rubio warned that the company poses an ongoing threat to national security.

Rubio, who co-sponsored the stripped provision, issued a statement July 13 criticizing the Commerce Department for lifting a trade ban with the U.S. after ZTE admitted to violating Iran and North Korea sanctions.

“ZTE should be put out of business,” Rubio said at the time. “There is no ‘deal’ with a state-directed company that the Chinese government and Communist Party uses to spy and steal from us where Americans come out winning.”

The Aug. 1 Senate vote marks the earliest Congress has been able to pass the defense spending bill since 1978, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) wrote in a statement of the bill that bears his name.

“I am particularly humbled that my colleagues chose to designate legislation of such importance in my name,” McCain wrote.

“This year’s NDAA represents an important opportunity to implement an effective approach to confront a growing array of threats around the world," he said, "and I look forward to the president quickly signing it into law.”

About the Author

Lauren C. Williams is senior editor for FCW and Defense Systems, covering defense and cybersecurity.

Prior to joining FCW, Williams was the tech reporter for ThinkProgress, where she covered everything from internet culture to national security issues. In past positions, Williams covered health care, politics and crime for various publications, including The Seattle Times.

Williams graduated with a master's in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park and a bachelor's in dietetics from the University of Delaware. She can be contacted at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.

Click here for previous articles by Wiliams.


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