Congress Unveils Bill That Includes Boost in Defense Spending

Iraq US Troops
AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo

WASHINGTON – On Monday, Congress unveiled a $1 trillion spending bill for 2017 that would boost defense spending by $16.3 billion more than requested by the last administration, a $19.9 billion increase from last year.

The 2017 spending bill would include $593 billion for defense, which includes $516.1 billion for “base” defense spending and $76.6 billion in emergency war funding.

The Trump administration had requested an additional $30 billion of defense spending for 2017, but the bill contains less than half of that: $14.8 billion. That amount was put into the war funding account.

If the $5.8 billion enacted in a short-term spending measure is included, the bill, if passed, would increase 2017 defense spending by $25.7 billion more than last year.

The bill addresses several important GOP priorities – most prominently, adding more troops and a pay raise.

The bill contains $1.6 billion more than the previous administration’s request, meant for an additional 1,000 active-duty Army soldiers, 1,000 Army National Guard soldiers, 1,000 Army Reserve soldiers, and 1,000 active-duty Marines.

The legislation also funds a 2.1 percent pay raise for the military, over the 1.6 percent requested by the previous administration.

For operations and maintenance, there is a total of $223 billion – $7.3 billion over the previous administration’s request and $9.4 billion above last year. This includes money for training, equipment and facility maintenance, and base operations.

As far as military equipment, the bill provides $123.3 billion – $12.3 billion above the previous administration’s request and $4.7 billion above last year’s level.

Contained in the bill are:

  • $21.2 billion to procure 13 Navy ships, including three DDG-51 guided missile destroyers, three Littoral Combat Ships, one LPD-17, and advance procurement for the polar icebreaker recapitalization project;
  • $8.2 billion for 74 F-35 aircraft;
  • $1.1 billion for 14 F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft;
  • $1.2 billion for 62 UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters;
  • $774 million for 52 remanufactured AH-64 Apache helicopters, $262 million for 7 new Apaches, and $72 million to support advanced procurement needs for an additional 10 aircraft;
  • $702 million for 145 Patriot MSE missiles;
  • $275 million for 20 MQ-1 Gray Eagle unmanned aerial vehicles;
  • $187 million for 28 Lakota light utility helicopters;
  • $1.8 billion for 11 P-8A Poseidon aircraft;
  • $2.6 billion for 15 KC-46 tanker aircraft;
  • $1.3 billion for 17 C/HC/KC/MC-130J aircraft; and
  • $210 million for HMMWV modernization for the active Army, Army National Guard, and Army Reserve.

The bill also includes funds to maintain four Apache battalions in the Army National Guard and to maintain a Combat Aviation Brigade in Korea.

The bill includes $73.7 billion for research, development, testing, and evaluation of new defense technologies – $1.9 billion more than the previous administration’s request and $3.7 billion above the fiscal year 2016 level.

That funding will include research and development of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter; the GPS III operational control and space segments; the new Air Force bomber program; a next-generation JSTARS aircraft; the RQ-4 Triton Unmanned Aerial Vehicle; the Ohio-class submarine replacement, according to a bill summary.

The bill proposes $34.1 billion for defense health and military family programs –$314 million above the previous administration’s request and $1.5 billion above last year. That includes $312 million for cancer research, $125 million for traumatic brain injury and psychological health research, and $296 million for sexual assault prevention and response programs.

There is also $600.7 million is provided for Israel Cooperative Programs, including $455 million above the previous administration’s request. This legislation also fully funds the European Reassurance Initiative, which funds an increase U.S. military presence in Europe to reassure allies.

The bill’s total defense spending is lower than what the Trump administration requested for 2017 but is still an increase from what the previous administration had requested and from the year before.

“This funding will help rebuild our forces to ensure our troops have the training and equipment they need to sustain our military superiority,” said a summary of the bill released by House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen.


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