The Senate Armed Services Committee voted to increase the Defense Department’s budget by $25 billion more than the Biden administration’s $715 billion proposal for the Pentagon, a member of the committee announced Thursday.
The increase was announced as part of the $778 billion National Defense Authorization Act, a bill that has passed every Congress in the last 60 years, which the panel announced it had voted to advance Thursday evening. The $778 billion price tag includes about $28 billion for Energy Department national security programs and $10 billion on defense activities at other agencies, leaving $740.3 billion for the Defense Department.
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Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., welcomed the budget increase as “very positive” on a call with reporters. He did not detail which specific priorities will be funded with the additional money, however, he said $2 billion will go to shipbuilding and ship repair. Military housing also “remains a problem,” Kaine said, and the committee continued to “move forward” on the issue during their discussions, though it is unclear Thursday how much in funding will go to improving the living conditions on bases.
The full Senate will likely take up the National Defense Authorization Act, annual legislation that sets priorities and funding for the Pentagon, in September, Kaine said. The defense bill authorizes funding, while the House and Senate Appropriations Committees allocate the funding. Those committees must agree to a higher overall budget amount for the money to be available.
“Congress must work on a bipartisan basis to ensure we have the policies and resources to deter America’s adversaries, reassure our allies, and ensure our forces have the right tools and capabilities to combat threats around the globe. Advancing this bill is a significant step toward achieving that objective,” Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., the committee’s chairman, said in a statement after Kaine announced the budget increase.