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GOP boosts nuclear weapons upgrades in 1st spending bill

GOP boosts nuclear weapons upgrades in 1st spending bill

WASHINGTON — Republicans controlling the House unveiled legislation Tuesday to boost spending for veterans’ health care and for maintaining the safety of aging nuclear weapons.

Spending for Army Corps of Engineers water projects and for upgrading aging barracks and other facilities at military bases would also be increased as the House gets started on a dozen spending bills to implement budget plans for next year.

The Department of Veterans Affairs, whose annual budget increases enjoy sweeping support on Capitol Hill despite agency foul-ups, would receive an almost $5 billion increase over current levels, and almost 6 percent increase.

“This legislation demonstrates our firm commitment to fully supporting the nation’s veterans,” said Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., the measure’s principal author.

Separately, the Energy Department measure includes an almost $1 billion increase for weapons modernization. That’s a 12 percent increase, which is made easier because Republicans have boosted Pentagon war accounts by $38 billion to get around tight budget “caps” that would otherwise freeze defense accounts.

In the veterans and energy and water projects measures released Tuesday, however, Republicans would provide greater than inflation increases. That means cuts down the line for domestic accounts such as job training, enforcing environmental regulations, the IRS, and grants for crime-fighting and transportation projects.

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