Congress Agrees on Defense Spending

ShipFew sessions of Congress have done as little as the current session. However, this Congress was able to come together and agree on defense spending. The legislation could be voted on by both chambers as early as Friday, and President Obama will likely sign the spending bill next week. The $631 billion to be spent on defense in 2013 includes “studying” the Republican pipe dream of an East Coast missile defense system but did curb the DOD’s ability to increase covert military operatives:

House and Senate lawmakers have agreed on a final bill authorizing the Pentagon to spend $631 billion in 2013, while also limiting DoD’s ability to deploy military spies and enter the biofuels industry. The bill stops short of mandating a new U.S.-based missile shield, and green-lights new multiyear contracts

The legislation, which could be sent to the president this week, also stops short of allowing DoD to spend funds to construct a GOP-proposed East Coast missile shield. The compromise bill authorizes the Pentagon to enter into multiyear procurement deals on several programs, including for Army CH-47 helicopters, Navy DDG-51 destroyers and V-22 tiltrotor aircraft.

Leaders and members from the House and Senate Armed Services committees agreed Dec. 18 on a compromise version of the 2013 defense authorization act that clears the Pentagon to spend $552.2 billion in base budget monies and another $88.5 billion on ongoing global wars and other operations.

The total amount is $1.7 billion above the Obama administration’s 2013 Pentagon budget request, which arrived on Capitol Hill earlier this year.

The conference panel opted against including the complete House-passed language that would have gone further than the final language on the establishment of an East Coast missile shield that House Republicans support.

The missile shield has been one of the more controversial items in the authorization bill process, with many Democrats expressing opposition. The Senate included no language about the proposal in its version of the bill.

The compromise bill would require defense officials to study options for an East Coast missile shield — but it does not require nor clear the military to spend funds to begin erecting it, a congressional source told Defense News before the conference committee approved the legislation.

Read more here.

Photo: USS Decatur at sea for CARAT by US Navy.


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