Congress has managed to finalize a $618.7 billion defense bill for the 2017 fiscal year, boosting it with an extra $3.2 billion for manpower, while stripping extra ships and jets. Requirements for women to register for the draft are also gone from the bill.
After months of negotiations, both legislative chambers have reached an accord on the new National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which is set to come to a final floor vote in the House this week and in the Senate next week.
Senior staffers from the House and Senate Armed Services committees have unveiled details of the bill on Tuesday, at an off-camera background briefing.
The compromised version of the NDAA would authorize a total of $618.7 billion in defense spending for the 2017 fiscal year. Of that, $59.5 billion would be earmarked for the so-called Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), a budget that exceeds the president’s request by $3.2 billion. Part of the OCO account – $8.3 billion – would be used for base budget requirements, including troop increases, while President Barack Obama requested $5.1 billion.
There are concerns that such voluntary add-ons may again be an issue for Democrats, which want all defense hikes to be matched by increases in domestic budget programs.