This bill would authorize appropriations for national defense spending for fiscal year 2016. As an authorization, not an appropriation, this bill does not give defense agencies the power to spend — but it does lay down the foundation for future bills that will give the government real money to spend.
The goal of this bill is authorize a total of $611.8 billion for defense spending with:
- $515 billion in discretionary spending (national defense),
- $89.2 billion set aside for Overseas Contingency Operations (war funding),
- $7.6 billion in mandatory defense spending.
The bill matches the Obama administration's requests for defense spending, but ignores many of the President's proposals.
The biggest rejections come in the form of funding for aircraft. The House Armed Services Committee rejected the Pentagon's request to retire an A-10 attack jet aircraft. Instead, the Thunderbolt II — commonly known as the “Warthog” — would have its funding restored ($682.7 million). The Navy would also receive 12 additional F/A 18 Super Hornets, and the Marine Corps would get 6 more F-35B Joint-Strike Fighters. These are additional aircraft than were requested for a total of $2.15 billion between the two programs.
Other requests from that Pentagon that were ignored: The authorization to close some military bases to cut funding have been rejected. A 2.3 percent pay raise for troops (instead of the Pentagon's requested 1 percent) have been slotted into this bill.
Other areas that would have increased funding from the President's plan include:
- Service-members’ housing allowance,
- Missile defense cooperation with Israel,
- Upgrades to the H-60 Blackhawk, the Stryker vehicle, and the C-130,
- Increased logistical operations to meet readiness objectives.