House appropriators Tuesday advanced a $579 billion defense budget bill for fiscal 2016 that Republicans lauded as a responsible step toward funding national security and Democrats decried as another step toward fiscal chaos.
The funding measure, approved by the House Appropriations Committee, includes a 10 percent boost in equipment procurement, a 3 percent increase for operations and maintenance funding, and enough money for a 2.3 percent military pay raise next year.
The total cost of the measure roughly matches the president’s request for military spending in fiscal 2016, but did little to change White House objections over Republican budget plans.
The vote came just a day after yet another reprimand of Congress from White House officials who criticized Republican lawmakers’ ongoing work on budget bills that keep in place spending caps under the 2011 Budget Control Act.
Key to those larger budget plans is the defense budget, which includes $88.4 billion in temporary war funding. That’s about $38 billion above the Pentagon’s request for contingency operations worldwide, expanding the definition of war-related needs to get around spending caps for the fiscal 2016 military budget.