The vote came after brief debate in which Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) said the bill is a "basically reasonable and comprehensive approach to our nation's defense activities." At the same time, however, he spent several minutes arguing that the bill spends too much at a time when federal funds could be better used at home.
"It's in my view absurd that we continue exempt the Department of Defense from the same scrutiny that we apply to our domestic programs," he said. "We need to recognize that our priorities are askew, and our spending on defense is unsustainable."
The bill provides for $530 billion for Defense Department programs, which is $17 billion more than fiscal 2011 and $9 billion less than the Obama administration request.
It also provides for $118.7 billion for overseas contingency operations, a drop of $39 billion.
The rule as approved allows for consideration of all germane amendments, but blocks amendments that decrease funds for global anti-terrorism efforts and increase other appropriations, or vice versa.