New Spending Bill is Boon
for Sea Service Priorities
It may have been seven months late, but
the omnibus spending bill signed into
law last month for the current fiscal year
is loaded with goodies for the sea services, including several additional ships
not included in former President Barack
Obama’s last budget request.
The Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Maritime
Administration all were significant beneficiaries in the
$1.2 trillion government-wide spending bill pushed
through Congress in early May, with many of their
unfunded priorities covered despite caps on federal
Senate Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran,
the Mississippi Republican who also chairs the
defense subcommittee, added several potential home-state shipbuilding projects to the massive budget.
Meanwhile, Republican Rep. Kay Granger of Texas,
the new chair of the House Appropriations defense
subcommittee, succeeded in adding billions for the
F- 35 Lightning II joint strike fighters assembled in
her Ft. Worth district.
The additions to the budget for long-time congressional favorites, such as the Navy’s F/A-18E/F Super
Hornet, underscored that lawmakers still have plenty
of wiggle room to squeeze their priorities into the budget despite a bipartisan agreement on spending caps
for both defense and non-defense accounts.
“These funds are badly needed to improve the
readiness of our armed forces, and to continue our
campaign to defeat ISIL [Islamic State of Iraq and the
Levant],” Cochran said on the Senate floor May 4.
For the Defense Department, the omnibus spending
bill included $593 billion, which amounted to $19.9
billion over fiscal 2016 and $16.3 billion above the
request. Of that funding, $516.1 billion is for the base
budget funds and $76.6 billion is in war money, which
is not capped by law. Congress approved military construction funds last year in a separate spending bill.
An F/A-18E Super Hornet from the “Kestrels” of Strike Fighter
Squadron 137 launches from the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS
Carl Vinson May 2 during flight operations in the western Pacific
Ocean. The new omnibus spending bill includes $1.1 billion for 14
Super Hornets for the Navy, 12 more than requested.