Panel Adheres to Defense Spending Caps

Late Tuesday, the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee passed their version of the defense spending bill which will provide $513 billion in fiscal year 2012, the same level as the current fiscal year.  The $513 billion bill is $26 billion less than the Administration’s request and $17 billion less than the House passed Defense spending bill.  The Senate’s version will meet the targets set for defense spending by the recent debt ceiling law.  The full Appropriations Committee will take up the spending measure today.

According to Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), the bill “fully supports military readiness, protects the forces, and maintains our technological edge.  It complies with the earmark moratorium and contains no congressionally directed spending items.”

The bill cuts $2 billion from the Army’s operation and maintenance funding, which is in addition to the $4 billion that was cut from the same fund in 2011.

One of the largest cuts in the bill was the elimination of $695 million from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.  The panel recommends maintaining 2011 funding levels through 2013.  Also, citing excessive cost growth and changing requirements, the committee terminated the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program.  The bill also does not fund the Navy’s request for an additional Mobile Landing Platform ship since it was fully funded in 2011.

The few budget increases were focused on supporting troops.  In addition to increasing funding for the defense health program, the bill fully funds the 1.6% authorized military pay raise and the requested military end strength.

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