Defense spending legislation moved forward in both the House
and Senate Thursday, a day after House leadership named its members of the
panel that will iron out difference in the two chambers’ defense policy proposals.
The House approved, by a 359-49 vote, a $674.6 billion
defense spending bill, which includes $606.5 billion in base discretionary
spending, up $17.1 billion from the amount enacted for Fiscal 2018, as well as
$68.1 billion in overseas contingency operations funds. The funding level, the
committee said, is consistent with defense authorization legislation, passed last month by the House, as well as the new budget
agreement. It also includes a 2.6
percent pay increase for the military.
Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) lauded the bill as “including robust funding for our troops, the
defense programs, and activities necessary to accomplish our national goals and
ideals, and to continue to rebuild our military.
minority member, Nita Lowe, (D-N.Y.) said on the floor the bill “reflects the collegial and
bipartisan tradition of the Defense Subcommittee, providing ample funding for
the needs of our armed services and intelligence community.”
Meanwhile, the Senate Appropriations Committee, as
expected, cleared its version of the bill for Senate floor action by a 30-1
vote. The bill provides $607.1 billion
in base funding and $67.9 billion for overseas contingency operations.
Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) pointed
to the bill’s recommendations of investments in future technologies needed to
defend the country and said the bill would help the US military maintain its technological
superiority “through important
investments in basic research, hypersonics, directed energy, missile defense,
cybersecurity, and our test and evaluation infrastructure.”
The moves came after House leadership Wednesday named that
chamber’s members of the House-Senate conference committee on the defense
authorization bill. The conferees,
from the House Armed Services Committee, include Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas)
and ranking Democrat Adam Smith (Wash.), as well as more than two dozen other members
of the committee. The Senate passed its
version of the bill June
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