24662079436 a744bc49c7 k Theres a push to boost Americas defense budget to $640 billion

A B-1 Lancer flies over the Norma Brown building during the 75th Diamond Anniversary ceremony on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Jan. 26, 2016 (USAF photo)

WASHINGTON — The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said Thursday he’ll push to increase defense spending by $37 billion more than the Trump administration proposed to pay for more troops and new weapons.

Speaking to reporters, Rep. Mac Thornberry said he’ll seek $640 billion for the Defense Department in the 2018 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. His comments came a day after his GOP colleagues on the House Budget Committee agreed on a fiscal outline that would provide the military with about $20 billion less.

gettyimages 532688606 Theres a push to boost Americas defense budget to $640 billion

U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) speaks during a news conference May 19, 2016 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. House GOP members held a news conference to discuss the National Defense Authorization Act. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Thornberry said he’d be willing to agree to a lower number if he can be assured that future defense budgets will be stable and substantial enough for a U.S. military that’s been running at a high tempo for a decade and a half.

The Texas Republican and other defense hawks have been pushing to repeal a law known as sequestration that strictly limits military spending and led to uncertainty over how much money the department will get each year.

“If I am going to agree to do less than I believe is necessary to fix the problems facing the military today, then the only way I could do that is if there is future stability, future funding, future predictability,” Thornberry said. “That’s a value to me.”

The chairman’s defense budget blueprint to be publicly released Monday also will include $65 billion for wartime ongoing military operations, bringing his proposed total to $705 billion — more than at any point during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

His counterpart in the Senate, Armed Services chairman John McCain, also supports a core defense budget of $640 billion.

Thornberry’s plan will recommend a full 2.4 percent pay raise for U.S. service members, more spending for missile defense programs to help shield the homeland from a potential attack by North Korea, and additional troops for the Army, Navy and Air Force.


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