May 24 (UPI) -- House lawmakers overwhelmingly voted for a $717 billion defense bill Thursday, which includes funding for the military parade President Donald Trump asked for.
The National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2019 authorizes funding for new military equipment -- including new submarine- and sea-launched missile systems -- as part of a nuclear modernization program.
The bill also authorized $617 billion for the Pentagon budget, $22 billion for the nuclear weapons program and $69 billion for U.S. military efforts abroad.
House lawmakers passed the proposal by a vote of 351-66, despite Democratic opposition for the new weapons.
"This bill ... pushes us even further and faster down the path to war, toward a new nuclear arms race," warned Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif. "Does it make us safer to have a low-yield nuclear weapon on one of our submarines? Probably not."
The funding package also includes a 2.6 percent pay raise for U.S. troops, which would be the highest hike in nine years.
Also in the bill is authorization for military equipment and aircraft upgrades, new Russian sanctions and a military parade in Washington, D.C., Trump requested earlier this year. It also gives the Pentagon power to cut small military installations that are no longer needed and reduces some support functions.
"The key focus of this bill is restoring readiness to ensure that when our men and women in uniform go out on mission, they have the best equipment, the best training and the best support our nation can provide," said Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.
The Senate Armed Services Committee passed a similar version of the bill Wednesday. Both chambers would have to reconcile their proposals into a finalized version to send to Trump for his signature.