House Passes $690.2 Billion Defense Appropriations Bill

The House of Representatives on June 19 approved a $982.8 billion appropriations bill that includes $690.2 billion for 2020 defense spending. ?Photo courtesy ???of Architect of the Capitol.

The House on June 19 approved a $690.2 billion 2020 defense spending bill as part of a larger four-bill appropriations package that also funds the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, State, and Energy for a total package worth $982.8 billion.

The defense portion of the legislation marks a $15.8 billion increase from the 2019 enacted funding, but it’s still $8 billion less than the President’s budget request. Of the $690.2 billion, $622.1 billion will go to base defense programs, while $68.1 billion will fund overseas contingency operations.

The bill provides a 3.1 percent pay raise for troops and funds an additional 3,700 Active Duty airmen, 600 more Air National Guardsmen, and 100 additional Air Force Reservists. The bill does not fully fund a new Space Force, but it does provide $15 million “to continue analysis of purpose and structure of a Space Force and alternative organizational constructs,” according to a summary of the legislation.

It provides $142 billion for defense procurement, buying a total of 90 F-35 strike fighters (12 more than requested), eight F-15EX aircraft to recapitalize the F-15C/D fleet, 12 KC-46 tankers, 27 MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft (12 more than requested), and 12 Combat Rescue Helicopters.

In addition, the bill provides $101.5 billion for research, development, test, and evaluation, fully funding F-35 Block 4 follow-on development ($1.5 billion), continued development of the B-21 bomber program ($3 billion), and development of the VC-25B Presidential Aircraft Replacement program ($735 million).

The House voted 226 to 203 in favor of the bill, although the spending level is well above Budget Control Act spending caps, meaning the House, Senate, and White House will need to reach an agreement to avoid huge sequestration cuts in January 2020.