House committee approves $674.6B Pentagon spending bill

By Daniel Uria  |  June 13, 2018 at 7:08 PM
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June 13 (UPI) -- The House appropriations committee voted Wednesday to approve a $674.6 billion Department of Defense spending bill for fiscal year 2019.

The committee voted 48-4 to approve the bill which includes $606.5 billion in base discretionary funding, up $17.1 billion from the 2018 fiscal year, while also providing $68.1 billion in funding to the Overseas Contingency Operations and Global War on Terrorism.

"Funding is targeted to programs that will help boost economic growth and opportunity. This includes providing stability for our financial system and ensuring consumers and investors are protected, while also stopping burdensome regulations," committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., said.

The bill pays for 15,600 more troops throughout the military and a 2.6 percent pay raise for service members.

"We recognize that it is the men and women of our armed services -- all volunteers -- and their families who form the foundation of our national security, and this legislation supports them as fully as we can," Frelinghuysen said.

It also provides $145.7 billion for equipment and upgrades including $22.7 billion for 12 new Navy ships and $9.4 billion for 93 F-35 fighter jets.

"Our military must have the resources it needs to respond to and deter threats from countries like Russia, China, Iran and North Korea, and also counter violent extremists throughout the world," Defense Subcommittee Chairwoman Kay Granger, R-Texas, said. "This bill does what General Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff has asked, it 'ensures the joint force has the depth, flexibility, readiness and responsiveness that ensures our men and women will never face a fair fight.'"

The committee also voted 22-30 on party lines to reject an amendment proposed by Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., seeking to end the Authorization for Use of Military Force, which was implemented in 2001 and is still used as a legal justification for U.S. military action against terrorist groups.

"I'm incredibly disappointed that Approps Republicans rejected my amendment to sunset the 2001 AUMF --- the same exact amendment that they supported overwhelmingly when I offered it just last year," Lee wrote on Twitter.

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