House appropriations panel passes defense bill

By Tony Bertuca / May 15, 2019 at 10:52 AM

The House Appropriations defense subcommittee today approved by voice vote its version of the fiscal year 2020 defense spending bill.

"In total, the bill provides $690.2 billion in new discretionary spending authority for the Department of Defense for functions under the Defense Subcommittee's jurisdiction, an increase of $15.8 billion above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level, and $8 billion below the President's budget request," according to a statement from committee Democrats.

Staffers have said the funding in the bill aligns with the $733 billion total defense budget being eyed by Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee for their FY-20 defense authorization. 

The Trump administration, however, has requested a total defense budget of $750 billion. 

Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), the top Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, said the GOP does not support the defense spending bill because the topline is too small.  

 “I support many of the investments made in this defense appropriations bill to strengthen our armed forces, such as improving our weapons systems and providing better health services for our troops,” she said. “Unfortunately, the Democrats have proposed an overall funding level that does not adequately address growing global threats, and it is less than requested, halting the progress we have made in improving military readiness.”  

 Granger also said she opposed the bill because it is not part of an overall deal to lift mandated budget caps on defense and non-defense spending. 

“I want to work with my colleagues as the bill moves through the process to address these concerns and develop a fiscally responsible budget framework that prioritizes national security and prevents sequestration,” she said. “Otherwise, we could face more than $70 billion in cuts below the current levels, crippling our military capabilities.”