Senate and House appropriators have a bit of work reconciling the two versions of the 2008 defense spending bill. The full Senate still has to consider its appropriations measure—not expected to reach the floor before the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30—while the House bill passed before the summer recess. The House would trim the President’s request by about $3.6 billion, and the Senate appropriators by $3.8 billion; they differ most on Navy and Army programs. And, Senate appropriators would spend slightly more for Guard and Reserve and health care funding than the House. The Senate version would keep Joint Cargo Aircraft funding with the Army, cutting Air Force JCA research and development. And, like their House counterparts, Senate appropriators would fund a second F-35 Joint Strike Fighter engine. (Senate spending bill summary.)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.