House unveils $674B defense spending bill for 2019

By Ed Adamczyk Contact the Author   |  June 6, 2018 at 2:30 PM
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June 6 (UPI) -- The House Appropriations Committee unveiled a $674.6 billion defense spending bill Wednesday.

While the committee scheduled a markup session for Thursday and debate with the Senate's version of the budget will likely take months, the House version provides $605 billion in base discretionary funding. That figure is less than President Donald Trump's administration requested, but more than the 2018 level.

The proposed funding would pay for more than 15,000 additional troops and pay raises for those already in military service -- as well as 93 F-35 Lightning II and two dozen F/A-18 E/F fighter jets. The House version also calls for a dozen new Navy ships.

The procurement budget includes more F-35s and littoral combat ships than the military requested, but Congress supports buying the equipment to keep factories and shipyards working and available for future orders, The Hill reported.

"With the changing global dynamics and ever-growing threats to our security, it is absolutely imperative that our military is properly trained, equipped and fully supported in order to do their jobs," panel chair Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., said in a statement. "This legislation does all of this by 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."

The Senate began debating its $716 billion defense bill on Wednesday, which highlights potential threats from Russia and China.

The Senate version also includes an Army brigade permanently stationed in Poland, and calls for short-term Army capability to fill gaps in cruise missile defenses. Moreover, it authorizes $200 million in security assistance to Ukraine and specifically calls for a strategy to counter Russian influence in Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.

It also bars purchases from China's Huawei Technologies or telecom equipment maker ZTE, companies blocked by the U.S. Commerce Department over trading with Iran and North Korea.

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