A key Democrat introduced legislation on Wednesday to fence off $38 billion in war funding until Congress finds a way to lift federal spending caps known as sequestration.
Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member Jack Reed (D-R.I.) says the additional funds should be in the base budget for the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, and not in the war fund.
The GOP-written bill authorizes $523 billion for base defense spending, in line with federal budget caps, but authorizes $89 billion in its war funding account, which isn’t subject to caps.
While that meets the White House’s overall defense budget request of $612 billion, the president has urged Congress to lift the spending caps and provide $551 billion for base defense spending and just $51 billion in war funding.
The president has threatened to veto any bill that “locks in” the caps, and opposes increasing defense spending spending without also increasing non-defense spending.
Reed on Wednesday urged his colleagues to consider his amendment, which could help avoid a White House veto but force Congress to strike a deal on lifting those caps.