Defense Spending Bill Moves to Full House

The House Appropriations Committee approved the Fiscal 2016 defense spending bill by a voice vote on June 2. The bill, which includes $578.6 billion in discretionary funding and $88.4 billion in overseas contingency operations funds, now heads to the full House for a vote. Republican leaders say the legislation provides service members with the resources they need while also making “responsible use of every tax dollar.” However, the White House said the decision to cut the base budget and bolster OCO funds takes away the stability needed for the US military to maintain a long-term national security strategy, according to a June 1 letter to the HAC chairman from the director of the Office of Management and Budget. It also “risks undermining an essential mechanism that both parties have long agreed was meant to fund incremental costs of overseas conflicts and support our troops while in harm’s way,” and “harms national security by locking in unacceptable funding cuts for crucial national security activities carried out by non-defense agencies,” states the letter. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, chairman of the House Appropriations defense panel, said the legislation “will help ensure that our armed forces are agile, efficient, ready and lethal. However, it also “reflects the reality that we live in,” added Frelinghuysen.