A bill authorizing $696 billion in spending for the Defense Department, raising military pay by 2.4 percent for service members and creating a new branch of the military for space operations passed the House by a vote of 344–81 today.
The bill authorizes enough funds to go head-to-head with sequestration as it makes a return in 2018 unless a budget deal is reached.
The 2018 defense authorization bill will have to work out its differences with the Senate version, which still has not been voted on.
Conflicts between the current state of the Senate bill and the passed House bill include military pay raise numbers, the establishment of the Space Corps, end strength numbers and a slight difference in topline amounts.
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One thing both the House and Senate agree on, however, is giving the military funding to fill gaps in readiness.
“With this bill there’s a sense we are finally turning things around,” House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) said July 14 after the bill passed the House.
The bill goes above the Trump Administration’s $668 billion request for 2018. That budget already had readiness increases built into it. The House and Senate bills added items from the military’s unfunded wish list to their bills to put both toplines near $700 billion.
The authorization bill only authorizes funds for DoD and does not appropriate them. The House Appropriations Committee bill allows for $658 billion in spending. That bill does not include funding for military construction, which is handled by another piece of legislation.
White House issues
The administration has some qualms with the bill. In a statement of administrative policy released July 11, the White House laid out its grievances with the bill.
The administration is disappointed the bill does not allow for a new round of…