House Approves Large Increase in Defense Spending
Gertz, Bill, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
The House voted yesterday to approve a $266.7 billion defense authorization bill that would fund new weapons and a military pay raise and restore a total ban on homosexuals in the armed forces.
The bill, approved by a 272-153 vote, would add $12.4 billion to President Clinton's request for Pentagon spending. Most of the additional funds would be spent on new arms and equipment, including warplanes, missile defenses and ammunition.
Seventy-five Democrats sided with Republicans in voting to pass the bill; 34 Republicans joined Democrats in opposing the bill.
Mr. Clinton threatened Monday to veto the bill because of the additional funds, including money to build a national missile defense system. The bill must now be reconciled with a Senate version.
Rep. Floyd Spence, South Carolina Republican and chairman of the House National Security Committee, said the bill is part of Republicans' "continuing efforts to revitalize" U.S. defenses that are underfunded.
A $100 billion gap between Clinton administration defense budgets and the military's needs "continues to widen," Mr. Spence said. "The result has been confusion and disarray in our military," he said.
Rep. Ron Dellums, California Democrat and ranking member of the committee, said the added money is not needed. "There is no modernization crisis," he said.
Reflecting a key GOP concern, the legislation would add $859 million to the budget request of $2.8 billion for missile defense programs, including $350 million for national missile defenses, and $509 million for other missile defense programs. …