House Appropriations Committee advances defense spending bill

The Pentagon is seen on Thursday, November 4, 2021 in Arlington, Va.
Greg Nash
A view of the Pentagon on Nov. 4, 2021, in Arlington, Va.

The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday approved its $761 billion defense appropriations bill for fiscal 2023, sending the bill to the full chamber for a vote.

The legislation, which the committee passed by a 32-26 vote, is $33.2 billion over what was enacted for fiscal 2022 and largely in line with President Biden’s budget request.

While the bill makes up a majority of appropriations for the Department of Defense, it is not the only source of defense spending.

The bill does not include $15.1 billion in funding for military construction projects, which is included in a separate $314.1 billion appropriations bill that the committee will consider Thursday.

Among its provisions, the legislation supports a 4.6 percent pay raise for military personnel and requires contractors to pay a $15 an hour minimum wage.

Democrats warded off an attempt to strike from the bill a provision that would protect service members’ and civilian personnel’s ability to take leave to obtain an abortion.

An attempt to strike the provision that would close the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, was also turned down, but had the support of two Democrats.

The committee adopted several amendments to the bill, including two from Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) to repeal the 2001 and 2002 war authorizations.

The panel also adopted amendments from Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-Pa.) that would prohibit funds from going to the Wuhan Institute of Virology and block funds for nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance for research support in China.

At the same time the Appropriations Committee was considering its bill, the House Armed Services Committee was marking up its version of the fiscal 2023 National Defense Authorization Act.  

This legislation authorizes top-line levels for defense spending, as well as sets policy for the Department of Defense. However, it does not have the power to appropriate funding for these programs.

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