A House panel issued its $579 billion draft Defense budget earlier this week, that includes pay raises for troops, saving the A-10 Warthog and billions of dollars in wartime funding to circumvent sequestration caps.
Those measures, along with increased funding for research and acquisitions such as the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, go against President Barack Obama’s request, particularly the subcommittee’s use of $88.4 billion in wartime funding. In using those funds to get around the sequestration cap, the $579 billion budget proposal for fiscal year 2016 is a $24.2 billion increase over this year and $800 million above the administration’s request.
House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., said in a statement that the panel’s bill would meet the needs of the American military in the next year. The bill heads for a closed-doors markup on Wednesday.
“This legislation recognizes that it is an increasingly dangerous world and we must guarantee that our military and intelligence community have the strength and capability to meet the rise of Islamic terror groups and other emerging threats and deter would-be aggressors like Iran, China and Russia and North Korea,” Frelinghuysen said. “I am proud that we have kept faith with the brave men and women, and their families, who selflessly serve our country.” (Credit AP).
The bill tees up fights over the specifics passed in the broader National Defense Authorization Act passed last week. Representatives voted 269-151 for the bill, H.R. 1735, which sets out broad funding limits and priorities for the DOD and certain programs at the U.S. Departments of Energy and State for fiscal year 2016.
The House’s passage of the broader NDAA came in the face of a veto threat from the Obama and the subcommittee’s draft contains many of the same provisions for the DOD.
Among other clauses, the bill would revive funding for the A-10 Warthog close air support aircraft, the intended retirement of which has been a perennial source of fighting between the administration and Congress in recent years.
The bill would also give troops a 2.3 percent pay raise, higher than the 1.3 percent requested by the administration.
In addition to the increases, the draft language would cut outlays for foreign currency fluctuations, as well as health programs. The statement accompanying the bill’s release said that the funding for those programs, $31.7 billion, would be sufficient.
“While below the current year, this level is sufficient to meet the entire scope of all estimated needs and requirements in the next fiscal year,” the statement said, explaining the cut to health programs. (Credit AP).