House subpanel advances $695B Pentagon bill with money to change Confederate-named bases

House subpanel advances $695B Pentagon bill with money to change Confederate-named bases
© Greg Nash

A House subcommittee has advanced a defense spending bill that would allocate money for the Army to change Confederate base names and that seeks to block President TrumpDonald John TrumpGiuliani goes off on Fox Business host after she compares him to Christopher Steele Trump looks to shore up support in Nebraska NYT: Trump had 7 million in debt mostly tied to Chicago project forgiven MORE’s use of Pentagon funds for his border wall.

The House Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee approved its fiscal 2021 defense spending bill by voice vote behind closed doors Wednesday, sending it to the full committee to vote on next week.

The $694.6 billion Pentagon spending bill would cover $626.2 billion in base budget funding and $68.4 billion in a war fund known as the overseas contingency operations account.


Among the more notable provisions, the bill would set aside $1 million from the Army’s operations and maintenance account to pay to change the names of bases and other property with Confederate monikers.

The Army has 10 bases named after Confederate military officers. The issue of renaming them has become a battle between Congress and Trump after the president publicly rebuked the Army for considering doing so and threatened to veto a defense policy bill if it includes a renaming requirement.

The spending bill also includes a slew of provisions seeking to block Trump from using defense funding to finance his wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, including one that would make the Pentagon put back into its original accounts money it shuffled around for the wall earlier this year.

The bill would also broadly prohibit the use of Pentagon funding for a barrier on the southern border, as well as cap the amount of money the Pentagon can transfer between accounts at $1.9 billion.

“This bill again contains several provisions to address the Department’s wanton disregard for Congressional intent,” subcommittee Chairman Pete Visclosky (D-Ill.) said at the markup, according to prepared remarks released by the committee. “As I stated last year, these actions are not taken lightly, but are absolutely necessary in order to allow Congress to carry out its Article I responsibilities.”

The bill’s $694.6 billion price tag is $1.3 billion more than was approved for the Pentagon this year, but $3.7 billion below the administration’s budget request. 


The bill would fund a 3 percent pay raise for troops.

Monday would also include $9.3 billion for 91 F-35 fighter jets, or 12 more than the administration requested. The bill would also fund nine new Navy ships at $22.3 billion, or $2.4 billion more than requested, including funding for a second Virginia-class submarine that the administration had cut from its request.

The bill also includes $758 million to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on subcontractors in the defense industrial base.