Congress moved Thursday to stop President Trump from reducing U.S. troops in Germany, dealing a setback to the White House’s attempt to punish the country for its modest level of defense spending.
The Pentagon announced in July that it planned to remove nearly 12,000 troops from Germany, approximately one-third of the level at the time.
A provision in the final version of the bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act says that the number of troops in Germany shouldn’t be reduced below its current level of 34,500 until 120 days after the secretary of defense provides an assessment to Congress on the implications of the action.
That would delay any potential troop withdrawal until President-elect Joe Bidentakes office. A spokesman for Mr. Biden was sharply critical of Mr. Trump’s decision during the campaign, saying it would waste money by requiring the military to move troops, build new headquarters and wouldn’t serve U.S. interests.
The NDAA is an annual defense-policy bill that would authorize $740.5 billion in fiscal year 2021 for the Defense Department’s and Energy Department’s national security programs. It includes a 3% pay raise for U.S. troops.