WASHINGTON – House appropriators plan to consider a proposed $658.1 billion Pentagon spending bill for 2018 made public Sunday, which kicks off a week packed with defense policy and appropriations action on Capitol Hill.
The 160-page proposal, whose total includes $584.2 billion in base funding and $73.9 billion in budget-cap exempt wartime funding, heads to a closed markup session on Monday night. The committee's overall funding level, as proposed, would be $68.1 billion above the current fiscal year.
The hefty defense boost is likely to fuel a fight with Democrats and fiscally hawkish Republicans, who will seek to trim it back.
The text of the legislation, reported by Defense Subcommittee Chairwoman Kay Granger, R-Texas, is located here. In a statement, she said the military must be able to respond to an array of global threats.
"This bill reflects what our military leaders have recommended in countless meetings and briefings and demonstrates our commitment to restoring military readiness, force modernization efforts, and maintaining technological superiority on the battlefield," she said. "The last thing we want is to permit our enemies a fair fight."
Among many highly anticipated program specific proposals the bill contains $21.5 billion for 11 Navy ships, including funding for one carrier replacement, two DDG-51 destroyers, two Virginia-class submarines, and three littoral combat ships, according to a summary of the bill.
The proposal includes $149 billion for weapons and equipment procurement, some $132.5 billion in base dollars and $16.5 billion in the overseas contingency operations account. That is $18.6 billion above the request and $24.1 billion above the current fiscal year 2017.
The legislation includes $9.5 billion for 84 Lockheed Martin-made F-35 fighters; $1.8 billion for 24 Boeing-made F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft; $1.05 billion for 56 Sikorsky-made UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters; $117.5 million for 12 General Atomics-made MQ-1 Gray Eagle unmanned aerial vehicles; $1.2 billion for 7 P-8A Poseidon aircraft; $2.4 billion for 15 KC-46 tanker aircraft; $348 million for 116 Stryker Double V-Hull upgrades; $1.09 billion for the upgrade of 85 Abrams tanks; $483 million for the upgrade of 145 Bradley fighting vehicles.
The proposal includes $705.8 million for cooperative programs with Israel, largely for ballistic missile defense programs.
The proposal contains $138.3 billion for military personnel and pay, fully funding a 2.4 percent pay raise for the military; $241 billion for operations and maintenance; $84.3 billion for research and development, and $34 billion for heath and military family programs.
The administration has said the military buildup President Trump campaigned on will come in fiscal 2019, but some pro-defense Republicans have been working to fund more sooner. The president requested $603 billion, while House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, and his Senate counterpart John McCain, R-Ariz., have said the military needs $640 billion.
Both the HASC and SASC are expected to vote their versions of the National Defense Authorization Act out of their committees on Thursday after markup sessions during the week. The SASC sessions will be entirely closed and the HASC's will be open, as its tradition.
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., said in a statement Sunday that the appropriations bill was "a step forward in rebuilding our military" after it was underfunded by the Obama administration.
"Not only will this bill help provide our troops and commanders with the resources they need to do their jobs, it also will ensure the success of our missions, the safety of our people, and the stability we need around the globe to make a brighter and more secure future for all."
Joe Gould was the senior Pentagon reporter for Defense News, covering the intersection of national security policy, politics and the defense industry. He had previously served as Congress reporter.