US Sen. Richard Durbin said the defense appropriations subcommittee should take up the Pentagon spending bill next month. (T.J. Kirkpatrick / Getty Images)
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WASHINGTON — US Senate appropriators are aiming to take up their 2015 Pentagon spending measure just after Independence Day, says Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill.
“First week of July,” the Senate Appropriations Defense subcommittee chairman said as he ducked into an elevator near the Senate chamber. “That’s the goal.”
The coming markup will be Durbin’s second since his surprising ascension to subcommittee chairman. Since, defense firms have upped their campaign contributions to the Senate majority whip.
The House’s full Appropriations Committee likely will take up its version of the 2015 defense appropriations bill next week, an aide says. Its defense subpanel last week approved a version that would give the Defense Department $570.4 billion.
The House version adds monies for fighter jets, electronic-attack planes and maintains 11 aircraft carriers.
The House Appropriations Defense subcommittee proposes a $491 billion base Pentagon budget and a $79.4 billion overseas contingency operations (OCO), or war funding, section.
That $491 billion figure is $5 billion lower than the Pentagon’s $496 billion base budget request. When factoring in another $5 billion in military construction, which the panel does not oversee, the HAC-D’s portion of the base budget roughly matches the Pentagon’s request. ■