Awaiting President Donald Trump’s signature is a bill authorizing a $700 billion budget for the military, including billions for Connecticut’s submarine industrial base and more attack submarines.
The House overwhelmingly passed the bill on Tuesday by a vote of 356 to 70. The Senate passed the measure in a quick voice vote Thursday.
In remarks on the House floor earlier this week, U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, said the bill was a result of a “very bipartisan effort, and the result I think really demonstrates that when you do it that way, you get good results.”
“The result is significantly more sources for airpower and submarines, both highly important to our nation and Connecticut,” U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said in a statement after the Senate’s passage.
Both Courtney and Blumenthal were part of a conference committee of lawmakers who worked out differences between the Senate’s and House’s versions of the bill to reach the $700 billion deal.
Trump has called for a bigger military budget but this exceeds what he asked for, and is about $85 billion above what the law allows for fiscal year 2018. Military officials have argued that budget uncertainty as a result of temporary funding measures known as continuing resolutions has hampered their operations and readiness. The $700 billion defense authorization bill is a statement from Congress that it wants to change that.
Still, Republican and Democratic leadership have not agreed on how to pay for the measure. A 2011 budget law stipulates a $549 billion cap on defense spending and a $516 billion cap on nondefense spending for fiscal year 2018. If lawmakers don’t reach a compromise, there could be across-the-board cuts. Government funding runs out on Dec. 8.
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