The House Armed Services Committee passed a $716 billion defense policy bill on Thursday, sending it to the full House for a vote later this month.
The topline number for military spending in fiscal year 2019 had already been agreed upon as part of the $1.3 trillion spending deal back in March. The sprawling $716 billion bill includes $616 for the Pentagon, $69 billion for the separate war operations account, $20 billion for the Department of Energy’s national security programs, and roughly $9 billion for other mandatory spending.
Lawmakers considered about 400 amendments aimed at funding specific policy proposals, with the votes coming largely along party lines. Republicans rejected Democratic attempts to rein in President Trump’s proposed military parade in Washington and to slow plans for the development of a new branch of the military focused on space. A proposal from Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) to cut $25 billion from Pentagon support agencies was significantly reduced in size and scope.
The bill authorizes funding for:
- the addition of nearly 16,000 active-duty personnel
- a 2.6 percent pay raise for troops
- 77 F-35 Lightning II stealth jets
- 24 F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet aircraft
- two Virginia-class submarines
- one Ford-class aircraft carrier, the fourth in the series
- two littoral combat ships
- $40 billion for upgrades to aircraft
- over $25 billion for maintenance.
Lawmakers also agreed to establish a new commission to review a recent increase in deadly aviation accidents.