Senate lawmakers bring defense authorization bill to floor

By Tony Bertuca / July 18, 2022 at 5:39 PM

The Senate Armed Services Committee has filed its version of the fiscal year 2023 defense policy bill, which would authorize $45 billion more in spending than what President Biden has requested.

Though the committee voted to pass the bill last month, it wasn't filed with the full Senate until today.

While the bill authorizes a total of $847 billion for national defense, it is aligned with an overall national defense topline of $858 billion, with the difference being accounted for by “defense-related spending” in other legislation that is not under the committee’s jurisdiction. Biden, meanwhile, has requested $813 billion, or $30 billion more than what Congress enacted for FY-22.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed (D-RI) in a statement pointed out that the massive annual bill was passed out of committee with broad bipartisan consensus.

"From China’s emergence as our most consequential strategic competitor to Russia’s assault on Ukraine, the challenges before us are momentous,” he said. “With broad, bipartisan support this year’s [bill] increases funding for our national defense, invests in the platforms and infrastructure our military needs, and delivers critical resources for our allies and partners around the globe. It provides our troops and Defense Department civilians with a significant pay raise and introduces new protections and support for their families. To ensure our technological superiority, it strengthens our cyber, hypersonic and artificial intelligence capabilities, giving our forces advantages on the battlefields of the future.”

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), the committee’s ranking member, praised Reed for helping lead “the charge” to boost the defense budget.

“With the Chinese Communist Party accelerating the already historic modernization of its military, Russia continuing to destabilize security in Europe, and record-high inflation jeopardizing our buying power, Congress must do everything we can to give our military every advantage on the battlefield,” he said.

The House passed its version of the FY-23 defense authorization bill last week, proposing a $37 billion increase above Biden’s request.