WASHINGTON ― House appropriators have proposed $1.7 billion more for weapons procurement and $1.6 billion less for development and testing of cutting-edge technologies meant to deter China.
The House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday morning released its fiscal 2022 Pentagon-funding bill, which proposes $706 billion in defense spending, or roughly $10 billion above the amount enacted for the current fiscal year. When added to the $11 billion for military construction appropriators are seeking separately, that sets it about even with Biden’s $716 billion request.
The legislation, crafted by Democrats, includes $134.3 billion for procurement, which is $2.2 billion less than the current year’s budget. For research funding, appropriators are proposing $110.4 billion, which is $3.2 billion above the current year’s budget.
Appropriators were expected to tailor Biden’s request, but at first blush the bill doesn’t appear to include any major pushback against the administration’s strategy of divesting from legacy platforms to reinvest in cutting-edge technologies.
For the Navy, the bill adds a second Arleigh Burke-class destroyer sought widely by lawmakers, and it cuts one of two towing, salvage and rescue ships. Otherwise, it matches Biden’s two Virginia-class attack submarines, one Constellation-class frigate, one John Lewis-class fleet oiler and the one ocean surveillance ship.
Ingalls Shipbuilding and General Dynamics’ Bath Iron Works contracts call for each of the companies to build one ship in FY22.
Appropriators propose the same 8 ships and add $915 million above the Navy’s budget request.
For aircraft, the bill would add 12 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, four C/KC/MC-130J tankers for 134 total; six MQ-9 Reaper drones for 12 total; $170 million for the second and third set of five CH-47F Block II Chinook helicopters; three UH/HH-60M Black Hawk helicopters for 33 total; and two CH-53K helicopters for 11 total.
The bill matches the Navy’s decision to shelve its sea-launched nuclear cruise missile. While the decision was been cheered by arms control advocates and some lawmakers, it’s come under tough scrutiny from Republicans, who argue the move should be subject to the rigor of the administration’s upcoming Nuclear Posture Review.
Appropriators would provide $2.5 billion to develop the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, which is the next-generation intercontinental ballistic missile, as well as $581 million for the Long Range Standoff Weapon, a new air-launched cruise missile.
The bill includes the administration’s 2.7 percent pay raise but takes sharper aim at personnel costs, trimming $488 million from the request for a total of $167 billion.