Showdown begins in Senate over defense spending - KXXV Central Texas News Now

Showdown begins in Senate over defense spending

By DEB RIECHMANN
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - A Senate panel approved a $575.9 billion defense spending bill on Tuesday, but its fate is uncertain as lawmakers argue over spending caps.

The usually bipartisan bill has run into snags this year. The GOP-led House and Senate both have bills that give President Barack Obama the amount he seeks for defense, but they do that by padding a war-fighting account that's not subject to the automatic spending caps that took effect a few budget cycles ago.

Democrats and the White House - and some Republicans - say doing an end-run around the caps by increasing the war-fighting account for a year doesn't permit defense officials the flexibility to plan to keep U.S. military might strong, especially at a time when Islamic extremists are on the rise. It takes years, for instance, to develop weapon systems.

The defense subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday recommended $489.1 billion in base spending and another $86.8 billion for the war-fighting account called Overseas Contingency Operations. The total $575.9 billion measure is to be considered by the full committee on Thursday. If additional mandatory spending and money used in national security programs at the Energy Department are added in, the subcommittee's markup is aligned with the $612 billion defense authorization bills.

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the top Democrat on the subcommittee, said this year's defense appropriations process is overshadowed by a "budget impasse."

Senate Democrats have said they will block the defense appropriations bill from the Senate floor unless there is agreement on spending caps. Obama has threatened a veto, saying he's opposed to using a budget "gimmick" to increase defense spending while failing to do away with the Budget Control Act's spending caps.

"The Budget Control Act, which set in motion dangerous defense cuts, establishes caps on defense and nondefense discretionary spending," Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, wrote in an op-ed published on Tuesday. "There is bipartisan consensus on the dangerous impact these spending caps would have on defense. All of the military service chiefs testified this year that funding defense at the level of the BCA caps would put American lives at risk.

"Rather than seeking to avoid this scenario at all costs, the president is using it as leverage to extract increases in nondefense spending. As his veto threat made clear, the president 'will not fix defense without fixing non-defense spending."

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • U.S. & World NewsMore>>

  • New landslide kills 10, buries houses in Philippines

    New landslide kills 10, buries houses in Philippines

    Wednesday, September 19 2018 10:47 PM EDT2018-09-20 02:47:53 GMT
    Thursday, September 20 2018 4:58 AM EDT2018-09-20 08:58:49 GMT
    At least 3 people died and several are feared buried in a landslide during heavy rains in the central Philippines.More >>
    At least 3 people died and several are feared buried in a landslide during heavy rains in the central Philippines.More >>
  • The Latest: Moon returns home after North Korea trip

    The Latest: Moon returns home after North Korea trip

    Thursday, September 20 2018 3:18 AM EDT2018-09-20 07:18:10 GMT
    Thursday, September 20 2018 4:58 AM EDT2018-09-20 08:58:45 GMT
    (Pyongyang Press Corps Pool via AP). South Korean President Moon Jae-in, right, and first lady Kim Jung-sook bow as they leave for Seoul at the Samjiyon airport in North Korea, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018.(Pyongyang Press Corps Pool via AP). South Korean President Moon Jae-in, right, and first lady Kim Jung-sook bow as they leave for Seoul at the Samjiyon airport in North Korea, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018.
    South Korea says President Moon Jae-in is returning home after his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.More >>
    South Korea says President Moon Jae-in is returning home after his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.More >>
  • Kim, Moon join hands on peak of sacred North Korean volcano

    Kim, Moon join hands on peak of sacred North Korean volcano

    Thursday, September 20 2018 2:18 AM EDT2018-09-20 06:18:19 GMT
    Thursday, September 20 2018 4:28 AM EDT2018-09-20 08:28:53 GMT
    (Pyongyang Press Corps Pool via AP). South Korean President Moon Jae-in, second from right, and his wife Kim Jung-sook, right, stand with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, second from left, and his wife Ri Sol Ju on the Mount Paektu in North Korea, Thur...(Pyongyang Press Corps Pool via AP). South Korean President Moon Jae-in, second from right, and his wife Kim Jung-sook, right, stand with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, second from left, and his wife Ri Sol Ju on the Mount Paektu in North Korea, Thur...
    On the final day of their summit, the Korean leaders are visiting a volcano considered sacred in the North.More >>
    On the final day of their summit, the Korean leaders are visiting a volcano considered sacred in the North.More >>
  • NationalMore>>

  • Vigil honors star golfer from Spain who was killed in Iowa

    Vigil honors star golfer from Spain who was killed in Iowa

    Wednesday, September 19 2018 11:28 PM EDT2018-09-20 03:28:03 GMT
    Thursday, September 20 2018 4:12 AM EDT2018-09-20 08:12:26 GMT
    (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall). Iowa State golf team members react during a vigil for slain teammate Celia Barquin Arozamena, Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018, in Ames, Iowa. Barquin, who was the 2018 Big 12 women's golf champion and Iowa State Female Athlete ...(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall). Iowa State golf team members react during a vigil for slain teammate Celia Barquin Arozamena, Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018, in Ames, Iowa. Barquin, who was the 2018 Big 12 women's golf champion and Iowa State Female Athlete ...
    Teammates and others who knew an Iowa State University student-athlete who was killed this week while playing golf near the campus shared stories about her and lit candles in her memory.More >>
    Teammates and others who knew an Iowa State University student-athlete who was killed this week while playing golf near the campus shared stories about her and lit candles in her memory.More >>
  • Police: Motive unknown in Wisconsin office shooting

    Police: Motive unknown in Wisconsin office shooting

    Thursday, September 20 2018 1:13 AM EDT2018-09-20 05:13:58 GMT
    Thursday, September 20 2018 4:12 AM EDT2018-09-20 08:12:18 GMT
    (Steve Apps/Wisconsin State Journal via AP). A woman is escorted from the scene of a shooting at a software company in Middleton, Wis., Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018. Four people were shot and wounded during the shooting in the suburb of Madison, according...(Steve Apps/Wisconsin State Journal via AP). A woman is escorted from the scene of a shooting at a software company in Middleton, Wis., Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018. Four people were shot and wounded during the shooting in the suburb of Madison, according...
    Authorities say they don't yet know what prompted an employee of a Wisconsin software company to open fire at his office, injuring four people, including three seriously.More >>
    Authorities say they don't yet know what prompted an employee of a Wisconsin software company to open fire at his office, injuring four people, including three seriously.More >>
  • Women die in flooded van driven by South Carolina deputies

    Women die in flooded van driven by South Carolina deputies

    Thursday, September 20 2018 1:24 AM EDT2018-09-20 05:24:25 GMT
    Thursday, September 20 2018 4:12 AM EDT2018-09-20 08:12:05 GMT
    (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert). Responders congregate Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018 near where two people drowned Tuesday evening when they were trapped in a Horry County Sheriff transport van while crossing an overtopped bridge over the Little Pee Dee River on...(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert). Responders congregate Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018 near where two people drowned Tuesday evening when they were trapped in a Horry County Sheriff transport van while crossing an overtopped bridge over the Little Pee Dee River on...
    Officials say two women being transported to a mental health facility by deputies have drowned when they were trapped in the van as it was engulfed in rising South Carolina floodwaters.More >>
    Officials say two women being transported to a mental health facility by deputies have drowned when they were trapped in the van as it was engulfed in rising South Carolina floodwaters.More >>
Powered by Frankly