On Monday, Congress passed a massive $700 billion defense bill. Interestingly, the National Defense Authorization Act passed through the Senate with a clear 89 to 9 bipartisan majority. This bill exceeded even Trump’s generous budget for the Pentagon.
This successful voting marked the 56th year that Congress has successfully passed a defense authorization bill – a remarkable accomplishment that is a source of personal pride for the Senator John McCain, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee. Even was still recovered from brain cancer surgery, McCain spent the past three weeks meeting with his fellow Senators, and pressuring lawmakers from both parties to support the defense legislation.
In his argument for increased military funding, McCain told his colleagues, “We are gambling with the lives of the best among us and we’re now seeing the cost — the tragic but foreseeable costs of an overworked, strained force with aging equipment and not enough of it.”
The 1,125-page bill covers a vast array of military matters, and including $640 billion for basic Pentagon operations -$37 billion more than Trump sought – and $60 billion in funding for operations in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and other countries. The bill also includes modest reforms to the notoriously inefficient and corrupt acquisition process.
Summarizing the impact of the bill, McCain detailed that the it, “authorizes $500 million to provide security assistance, including weapons, to Ukraine; $100 million to help Balkan nations, ” deter Russian aggression. “And another $705 million for Israeli cooperative missile defense programs—$558.5 million more than the administration’s request.”
While the proposal outlines a massive defense budget, it remains to be seen if Democrats will actually appropriate money to the budget that Senator McCain has laid out. “It’s a grandiose spending plan,” Democratic Senator, Dick Durbin ominously intoned.
Before the bill could be sent to the President for his final signatures, it is necessary that it is reconciled with the House version of the same bill. But both the bills are different in their essence as the House version of the Defense bill revolves around making a new Space Corps in order to manage all the satellites whereas the Senate bill does not.