Congress Approves Omnibus

Congress overwhelmingly approved the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill on Friday, sending it to the White House for President Obama’s signature. The House approved the measure, which keeps the government open and funded for the rest of Fiscal 2016, with a vote of 316-113; the Senate followed with a vote of 65-33. The legislation provides $514.1 billion in base defense funding and $58.6 billion in overseas contingency operations funds. It provides a 1.3 percent pay raise. For the Air Force, it provides $45.5 billion in operations and maintenance, $41.5 billion in procurement, $32.5 billion for personnel, and $25.2 billion for research, development, test, and evaluation. “The bill addresses several unfunded requirements and boosts intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities through the procurement of multiple air frames,” including three additional F-35As for the Air Force and four MQ-9 Reapers, states a Senate summary of the massive omnibus. It also includes an additional $143.6 million “for the Air Force to continue development of a new US-made engine as an alternative to the Russian-made RD-180 engine used in the Atlas V launch vehicle,” states the summary. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) voted against the measure citing an abundance of pork barrel funding, which he said takes valuable resources away from national defense. (McCain statement.) (Read the 2,009-page omnibus.)