The Senate Appropriations Committee advanced to the full Senate its fiscal 2020 $694.9 billion defense spending bill along party lines Thursday after lawmakers differed strongly over the use of Pentagon funds for southern border barrier construction, The Hill reported.
The final committee vote came in at 16-15 after tabling an amendment by the panel’s top Democrat Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) that sought to end administration use of DOD funds for southern border construction, according to the report.
The full committee’s final markup would provide DOD with an almost 3% increase over FY 2019 funding, with many of the spending increases highlighted in a committee press release after the vote.
“This is a strong bill,” said Appropriations Committee Chairman Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) in the release. “It continues increases in funding for our nation’s defense that meet the objectives of the National Defense Strategy by improving readiness, investing in innovation, and bolstering the combat effectiveness of the Department of Defense.”
Comment from Ranking Member Leahy was not offered on the posted release.
In total, the advanced defense spending bill allocates $622.5 billion in base-budget funding, $70.6 billion for overseas operations and $1.7 billion in emergency funds for disaster relief, the latter of which does not count toward the newly-implemented budget caps, according to a CQ report.
The bill would fund 96 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets, 18 more than the Pentagon’s FY 2020 budget request. The measure would also fund 14 new Navy warships and provide a 3.1% pay raise to military personnel and a 2.6% raise to DOD civilians.