$578B defense spending bill heads to the floor

The House Appropriations Committee on March 2 introduced a fiscal 2017 defense spending bill that will fund military operations overseas, ensure readiness to meet global threats and provide funding for military health and safety programs.

The $577.9 billion budget is an increase of $5.2 billion over the fiscal year 2016 and includes $516.1 billion in base discretionary funding, which is an increase of $2 billion more than current levels —and $61.8 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO)/Global War on Terrorism funding—$3.2 billion above current levels, according to a committee news release.

The bill also calls for $132.1 billion to $128.7 billion for base requirements and $3.4 billion for OCO/GWOT requirements to provide for 1,305,900 active-duty troops and 813,200 Guard and Reserve troops, and fully funds the authorized 2.1 percent pay raise for the military, instead of 1.6 percent as requested under the previous administration.

The Defense Health Program, which provides care to military personnel, their families and retirees, will receive $34.1 billion. It provides $312 million for cancer research, $125 million for traumatic brain injury and psychological health research, and $296 million for sexual assault prevention and response.

“This legislation provides responsible funding to ensure that our troops have the resources they need to remain the very best in the world, and to fulfill the mission of protecting our country and our way of life,” Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen said. “Enacting this essential legislation into law is paramount to our security,” he added.

Reader comments

Mon, Mar 6, 2017

$296 million for Programs pertaining to sexual assault....NO! There is already a program in place and it doesn't need enhancement. Just make the CO's do what they are supposed to do....stop making sexual assault a joke and/or excuses for military personnel not attending the training. Secondly, court-martial for infractions. $312 million for cancer research....NO for the Defense Budget. Yes, but send this cancer research money to the Health Department. 2.1% raise for military personnel...NO unless you are going to give defense federal employees the same raise. THANKS to the most recent raise, my paycheck went up $32 a payday, but I'm only seeing $15 and that's solely due to the increase in our health insurance; something military personnel don't have to pay for. I'm not saying that defense federal employees should be treated the same as military personnel; we are not on the front lines. But we are owed respect, understanding and a few more dollars for what we do do. We are required to get contracts awarded to buy what is needed to repair the ships, planes, subs, etc. Defense Federal Workers are doing the ship repairs themselves, because the cost of contracting is too expensive. I strongly agree with a stronger build-up of our fleet, but it won't get done without additional work on the defense federal employees and we are under a hiring freeze right now.....

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