Showdown begins in Senate over defense spending - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

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.
  • NationalMore>>

  • Dad stabbed to death as daughter sits in lap at restaurant

    Dad stabbed to death as daughter sits in lap at restaurant

    Saturday, April 21 2018 5:44 AM EDT2018-04-21 09:44:08 GMT
    Saturday, April 21 2018 7:09 AM EDT2018-04-21 11:09:26 GMT
    (Ventura County District Attorney's Office via AP). This undated photo provided by the Ventura County District Attorney's Office shows Jamal Jackson. The homeless man has been charged with murder in a random stabbing attack in which a man was killed wh...(Ventura County District Attorney's Office via AP). This undated photo provided by the Ventura County District Attorney's Office shows Jamal Jackson. The homeless man has been charged with murder in a random stabbing attack in which a man was killed wh...
    A homeless man has been charged with murder in the death of a California father who was stabbed in the neck as his 5-year-old daughter sat in his lap in a crowded beachside steakhouse.More >>
    A homeless man has been charged with murder in the death of a California father who was stabbed in the neck as his 5-year-old daughter sat in his lap in a crowded beachside steakhouse.More >>
  • Kansas officials boost projected tax collections by $540M

    Kansas officials boost projected tax collections by $540M

    Saturday, April 21 2018 5:44 AM EDT2018-04-21 09:44:15 GMT
    Saturday, April 21 2018 7:08 AM EDT2018-04-21 11:08:54 GMT
    (AP Photo/John Hanna). Larry Campell, left, Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer's budget director, confers with J.G. Scott, center, the Legislature's top fiscal analyst, and Raney Gilliland, right, the director of the Legislature's research staff, before the relea...(AP Photo/John Hanna). Larry Campell, left, Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer's budget director, confers with J.G. Scott, center, the Legislature's top fiscal analyst, and Raney Gilliland, right, the director of the Legislature's research staff, before the relea...
    Kansas officials have issued a new fiscal forecast that boosts projected tax collections by a total of $540 million through June 2019.More >>
    Kansas officials have issued a new fiscal forecast that boosts projected tax collections by a total of $540 million through June 2019.More >>
  • Americans told to toss romaine lettuce over E. coli fears

    Americans told to toss romaine lettuce over E. coli fears

    Friday, April 20 2018 6:13 PM EDT2018-04-20 22:13:22 GMT
    Saturday, April 21 2018 7:08 AM EDT2018-04-21 11:08:47 GMT
    The Centers for Disease Control is expanding a warning about contaminated lettuce from Arizona that has now sickened dozens of people in several states.More >>
    The Centers for Disease Control is expanding a warning about contaminated lettuce from Arizona that has now sickened dozens of people in several states.More >>
Powered by Frankly