President Donald Trump has repeatedly vowed to rebuild our nation’s military after years of budget caps, spending cuts and other constraints that have left our fighting force weaker than it should be, and the House of Representatives just did its part to help fulfill the president’s promise.
According to Politico, the House just passed its version of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act with an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 344 to 81.
The House bill calls for a total of $696 billion for the defense budget, well over the $603 billion requested in Trump’s proposed budget and way more than the capped $549 billion allowed under the Obama administration’s sequester, otherwise known as the 2011 Budget Control Act.
Of that $696 billion, roughly $621.5 billion would go towards the Pentagon’s base budget, with the remaining $75 billion allocated for overseas war funding. Some of the base budget spending would cover an increase in funding for missile defense and a 2.4 percent pay raise for the military, more than the 2.1 percent that Trump had sought.
Included in the budget is money to pay for an increase of 17,000 additional Army troops, as well as funding for several new Navy ships and dozens more fighter aircraft, according to the Washington Examiner.
The House NDAA will now have to be reconciled with the Senate version of the bill, which has been passed out of the Armed Services Committee but still awaits a full vote on the floor.
According to the Military Times, that Senate bill actually calls for $700 billion in defense spending, and while the two bills are awfully similar, there are some differences that will need to be hashed out, such as the final amounts of the pay raise, increased troop levels, and numbers of new ships, aircraft and other vehicles.
Of course, there will also have to be some sort of compromise on working around the budget caps imposed by the sequester, and Democrats are sure to demand increased domestic spending in exchange for signing off on the larger defense budget.
Furthermore, there will be critics who rightly point out the waste, fraud and abuse that is included in the budget, mis-allocated funding that some argue should be located and shifted to other parts of the budget before additional funding is granted to the Pentagon.
But anything can be improved. The point is, it’s better to have those kind of arguments than fighting a progressive Democrat administration determined to starve the American military at a time of growing external threats.
This defense budget doesn’t quite “rebuild” the military as is vitally needed, but it certainly does start the process of digging out of the self-imposed hole the military was in and sets it on the path toward the ultimate goal of having a stronger, better equipped and fully funded military that is ready to face any challenge posed to our nation.
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H/T Sarah Palin