U.S. House and Senate lawmakers completed the conference markup of the FY19 defense authorization bill on July 23. The defense policy bill adheres to the spending levels agreed upon in the bipartisan budget act, providing a defense base budget of $639.1 billion. That figure comprises $616.9 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Defense, $21.9 billion for nuclear programs in the Department of Energy, and around $300 million for defense-related activities outside the DoD. Another $69 billion is provided for Overseas Contingency Operations, for a total of $708.1 billion in discretionary defense spending. When including $8.9 billion in mandatory spending, the FY19 topline authorized in the legislation totals $717 billion. The separate congressional appropriations process will finalize how much money the military actually has available to spend in FY19.
by Shaun McDougall, Forecast International.
U.S. House Republicans have proposed an FY16 budget plan that would allow the Pentagon to sidestep sequestration spending caps by adding $39 billion to the Overseas Contingency Operations account. There are aspects of the budget plan that will upset both Democrats and Republican deficit hawks, however, meaning the proposed blueprint is essentially dead-on-arrival.