Senate Panel Marks Up Defense Spending Bill

The Senate Appropriations Committee’s defense panel provided $516.4 billion in base funding and $77.8 billion for overseas contingency operations in Tuesday’s mark-up of the Pentagon’s Fiscal 2014 budget request. “With increasingly limited funds, this bill cuts waste, prioritizes department spending, and puts a premium on readiness,” said Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), panel chairman, in the SAC’s July 30 release. The mark-up provides “substantial increases for readiness, depot maintenance, and facilities sustainment, restoration, and modernization,” states the release. This includes adding $2.9 billion to restore shortfalls in areas like aircraft flying hours, and $1.5 billion to address issues like shortfalls in depot maintenance. The mark-up fully funds next fiscal year’s F-35 strike fighter procurement and development of the Air Force’s future Long Range Strike Bomber and KC-46A tanker. The senators approved a one percent pay raise for uniformed military personnel and Defense Department civilians. The mark-up also provides a $297 million increase in Tricare “to ensure service members aren’t paying more out-of-pocket costs for their health care,” states the release. The House last week passed its version of the spending bill, appropriating $512.5 billion in base funding and $85.8 billion for OCO.