McCain files $17B amendment to boost defense spending

McCain files $17B amendment to boost defense spending
© Getty Images

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainJeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House panel debates articles of impeachment Budowsky: Would John McCain back impeachment? MORE’s (R-Ariz.) proposed $17 billion increase in defense spending would bulk up troop levels, pay for new equipment and increase a planned pay raise for troops.

McCain filed his amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act on Wednesday, making good on his promises to seek increased defense spending on the Senate floor.


All of the money would be added to a war fund known as the Overseas Contingency Operations account.

Under McCain’s amendment, 475,000 active-duty Army soldiers would be authorized for next year. That’s 15,000 more than are authorized in the bill now, and the same amount as were authorized for this year.

The Navy would be allowed an additional 2,882 active-duty sailors for a total of 325,782, which is still 3,418 fewer than were authorized this year.

And McCain's amendment adds 3,000 active-duty troops to the Marines for a total of 185,000, a decrease of 1,000 troops from this year.

Finally, the Air Force would be allowed 321,000 active-duty troops, up 4,000 from the current bill and 285 from this year's authorization.

McCain’s amendment would also authorize a pay raise of 2.1 percent, up from the bill's current 1.6 percent raise.

The amendment would also increase money for procurement. For example, on aircraft, the Army would get $1.05 billion to buy aircraft such as 36 more Black Hawks; the Navy would get $2.5 billion for aircraft such as 14 more F/A-18 Super Hornets and six F-35 fighter jets; and the Air Force would get $1.2 billion for aircraft such as five more F-35s.

McCain has said his amendment is necessary to reverse cuts that have put the military at risk.

“As threats grow, and the operational demands on our military increase, defense spending in constant dollars is decreasing,” he said at a speech last week. “How does this make any sense?”

But Democrats say the amendment would effectively blow up a bipartisan budget agreement reached last year.

“We're going to hold Republicans to their word on the budget agreement," Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidNevada journalist: Harry Reid will play 'significant role' in Democratic primary The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - A crucial week on impeachment The Hill's Morning Report — Pelosi makes it official: Trump will be impeached MORE (D-Nev.) said Wednesday. "We're going to do our job as we want them to do theirs. Our armed forces and middle-class Americans deserve nothing else."