Defense spending bill blasts through House, now goes to Senate

Matt Saintsing
May 24, 2018 - 3:20 pm

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Nghia Tran

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A $717 billion defense spending bill breezed through the House on Thursday which includes a pay raise for troops, and funding for President Trump's military parade. 

The vote was 351-66, and now the annual National Defense Authorization Act needs to be passed by the full Senate, before being sent to the White House to become law. The Senate Armed Services Committee advanced the spending package Thursday afternoon. 

“The best way to summarize this bill is that it takes the next steps,” said House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) on the House floor shortly before the vote.

“The next steps to rebuilding out military and reforming the Pentagon, the next steps towards strengthening our country’s national security.”

Here’s some of the bill’s highlights:

  • Supports President Donald Trump’s proposal for a military parade in Washington, D.C., in a national celebration to honor American troops and veterans.
  • 2.6 percent pay raise for service members
  • Address “physiological episodes” in Navy and Air Force training aircraft.
  • Authorizes 65 million for development of a new “low-yield” nuclear weapon that could be launched from submarines.
  • Limits DoD funds to reduce troop levels in South Korea.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said the bill “presents another major step toward rebuilding and reforming our military….it starts with readiness.”

“This bill invests in training, this bill invests in equipment, it grows the size of all branches of our military and it prioritizes missile defense in our nuclear deterrent. It’s a very dangerous world and this legislation will help us counter the threats, new or traditional,” said Ryan.

The $717 billion includes $69 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations—the fund for current military operations around the world, like the counter-ISIS campaign.

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