House defense subcommittee advances spending bill

By Tony Bertuca / June 5, 2024 at 10:06 AM

The House Appropriations defense subcommittee has voted to advance its version of the fiscal year 2025 defense spending bill to the full committee, which is expected to vote on the measure next week.

The bill, which the subcommittee advanced in closed session, does not include funds for a second Virginia-class submarine and increases procurement of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, two key areas that differ from the defense authorization bill being advanced by the House Armed Services Committee.

The appropriations bill, which honors the defense spending cap mandated by the Fiscal Responsibility Act, would fund procurement at $165 billion and put $146 billion toward research, development and test and evaluation for a total “modernization account” of $311 billion. House authorizers have a bill that would approve $163 billion for procurement and $143 billion for RDT&E for a total of $307 billion. An FY-24 spending deal, meanwhile, appropriated $320 billion in combined procurement and RDT&E.

Subcommittee Chairman Ken Calvert (R-CA) touted the bill’s increased investment in the Defense Innovation Unit and emerging technologies. The bill also cuts $18 billion in spending that Calvert and other Republicans have deemed “wasteful” and redirects it toward other defense priorities but details have not yet been released.

House Democrats, however, say they do not support the GOP’s defense appropriations bill over its inclusion of “harmful policy riders” related to politically divisive issues like abortion, climate change and diversity, equity and inclusion.

“There is a path laid out for us to responsibly strengthen America’s national security and support our armed servicemembers. But instead, we are considering a bill that chooses chaos over our national security, and sows division instead of supporting our servicemembers’ morale and unity,” committee Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03) said in a statement.

Several Washington analysts have noted that the bill stands little chance of passage in the narrowly divided House if it includes divisive “culture war” provisions and will certainly be blocked by the Democrat-led Senate.

Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT), who is leading the push to fund a second Virginia-class submarine, released a statement yesterday saying the House GOP’s “first take” at the FY-25 defense spending bill “will never become law.”