House approves $649 billion for defense in 2012
A $649 billion defense spending bill for next year easily passed the House of Representatives on Friday after four days of debate in which war-weary lawmakers sought to curb President Barack Obama’s combat operations in Afghanistan and Libya.
The measure, approved 336-87 in the Republican-dominated House, would raise the Pentagon’s base budget for the 2012 fiscal year beginning on October 1 by about $17 billion over current levels, despite intense pressure to slash the $1.4 trillion U.S. deficit.
The House cut about $8 billion from Obama’s overall defense spending request, voting to provide about $530 billion for the Pentagon’s primary budget and another $119 billion for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Obama asked for about $690 billion for military spending for 2012. This House bill does not include funds for U.S. nuclear weapons programs or military construction, which come in other bills and add about $33 billion to defense spending.
The House measure includes $5.9 billion to buy 32 Lockheed Martin’s radar-evading F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, $15.1 billion to build 10 Navy ships and $3.3 billion for 28 Boeing F-18 Super Hornet fighter jets and 12 EA-18 Growler electronic warfare aircraft.
Congress is still weeks away from approving a final military spending bill ready for Obama to sign into law. The House bill will have to be melded with whatever measure is approved by the Senate, which is still working on its plan.
ANGER OVER AFGHANISTAN, LIBYA