The Senate sent the fiscal 2020 defense spending bill to the White House in an 81-11 vote Dec. 19, moving forward a $738 billion defense appropriations package that comes nearly three months into the fiscal year.
The House approved the legislation Dec. 17. President Donald Trump is expected to sign the bill into law by the time federal funding runs out Dec. 20, following prolonged negotiations over partisan priorities.
This year’s joint appropriations deal, unveiled Dec. 16, gives the Air Force $17.5 billion to buy aircraft, $2.6 billion to buy missiles, $2.4 billion to purchase space systems, $1.6 billion for ammunition, and $21.4 billion for “other” purchases. It also offers $45.6 billion for USAF research and development programs, $42.7 billion for active-duty operations and maintenance, and $40 million to begin standing up a Space Force within the Air Force.
Once a 2020 budget is in place, the Air Force can move forward with dozens of new programs that couldn’t start without fresh funding, like purchasing the F-15EX fighter jet from Boeing.
“Finally, we have secured the funds and resources for our military—our national security,” Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said in a press release after the vote. “This package includes a significant increase in defense funding and the largest pay raise in a decade for our men and women in uniform.”
“Once enacted, these full-year bills will provide strong investments that grow our economy, strengthen communities, and secure our nation,” House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) added in a statement. “This spending agreement reflects Democrats’ commitment to fighting for America’s families and communities, so every person can have a better chance at a better life.”