The Latest: House approves defense policy bill for 2018
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the House’s consideration of the defense policy bill for the 2018 fiscal year (all times local):
The Republican-led House has decisively approved a defense policy bill that declares climate change a threat to U.S. national security, demands rigorous oversight of the Pentagon’s cyber operations, and rebuffs the Trump administration’s bid to close excess military bases.
Lawmakers voted 344-81 on Friday to pass the sweeping legislation. The bill authorizes $696 billion for managing the nation’s vast military enterprise in the 2018 fiscal year, nearly $30 billion more for core Pentagon operations than President Donald Trump requested.
Yet defense hawks pushing the hardest for the big boost in spending still face an uphill battle. For the spending increases to materialize, Congress first will have to agree to roll back a 2011 law that set strict limits on military spending.
But getting a deal won’t be easy. Lifting the so-called budget caps will take 60 votes in the Senate and Democrats are seeking to increase the budgets for other government agencies.
The Republican-led House has turned aside a measure that sought to strike an Obama-era practice of requiring the Pentagon to pay for gender transition surgeries and hormone therapy.
Democrats cast the proposal as bigoted, unconstitutional and cowardly. They won support on Thursday from 24 GOP lawmakers to scuttle the amendment to the annual defense policy bill, 214-209.
Lawmakers are expected to vote Friday on passage of the sweeping legislation following more debate over amendments that are often aimed at addressing specific needs in lawmakers’ districts.
The policy bill would authorize $696 billion for managing the nation’s vast military enterprise in 2018, nearly $30 billion more for core Pentagon operations than President Donald Trump requested.