U.S. Congress moves to boost Biden’s record defense budget

An F/A-18 Super Hornet lands on the deck of the USS Ronald Reagan in the South China Sea September 30, 2017. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

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WASHINGTON, June 22 (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee on Wednesday backed a proposal to increase Defense Department spending by $37 billion, on top of the record $773 billion of dollars proposed by President Joe Biden.

The vote paved the way for a Pentagon budget of at least $810 billion next year after the Senate Armed Services Committee had already backed a $45 billion increase in its version of the bill.

The two chambers will decide the ultimate level when they meet in conference on the bill at an undetermined date.

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The vote in favor of the $37 billion amendment to the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was 42 to 17, as more than a dozen Democrats joined Republicans in for increased spending. The amendment included $2.5 billion to help pay for higher fuel costs, $550 million for Ukraine, funding for five ships, eight Boeing Co-made (BA.N)F fighter jets -18 Super Hornets, five Lockheed Martin Co-made (LMT.N) C-130 Hercules aircraft and around $1 billion for four Patriot missile units.

Biden has requested a record peacetime national defense budget of $813 billion, which has earmarked $773 billion for the Pentagon. About $40 billion of Biden’s national defense budget is earmarked for other national security-related programs at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Energy and other agencies. Read more

Biden’s budget called for a 4.6% salary increase for troops and the biggest research and development budget in history, as Russian aggression in Ukraine spurs demands for additional military spending.

Last year, the NDAA authorized $778 billion in defense spending, $25 billion more than Biden requested.

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Reporting by Mike Stone in Washington; Editing by Josie Kao

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