153 GOP lawmakers back Trump call for $700B defense budget

153 GOP lawmakers back Trump call for $700B defense budget
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More than half of House Republicans are backing President Trump’s call for a $700 billion defense budget.

Led by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), 153 lawmakers “fully support your commitment to increase funding for our military to reverse a mounting readiness crisis and to deter serious and complex threats around the world,” they wrote in a Wednesday letter to Trump. 

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Trump last month at the United Nations General Assembly in New York touted the yet-to-be-passed fiscal 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

“It has just been announced that we will be spending almost $700 billion on our military and defense,” he said. “Our military will soon be the strongest it has ever been.”

The House in July approved $696.5 billion in defense spending, with a base budget of $621.5 billion and $75 billion in war money, known as Overseas Contingency Operations funds.

The Senate’s bill, passed in August, would authorize $640 billion for the base budget and $60 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations dollars.

The House and Senate versions must be reconciled before Congress can pass the NDAA, but the bill also requires that lawmakers lift spending caps set under the 2011 Budget Control Act.

The caps only allow $549 billion in defense spending. If they are not lifted, Congress faces sequestration, an automatic across-the-board spending cut.

“Restoring our military strength and defending the country is as important to America’s success as reforming the tax code, ensuring healthcare for Americans and growing the economy,” the lawmakers wrote.

“Any budget negotiation must make the national security of our nation a top priority. It is essential we fund our military at the right level as soon as possible,” they wrote.