House Puts $89B Emergency War Funds in $612B Defense Policy Bill

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CongressThe House has voted 269-151 to pass a $612 billion defense policy bill that puts additional funds for overseas contingency operations to boost defense spending in fiscal year 2016, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

Kristina Peterson and Gordon Lubold write that the lower chamber authorized $38.3 billion for base operations and maintenance as part of the $89.2 billion OCO budget, which is not subject to sequester-level spending caps.

The White House and some lawmakers are concerned about the potential use of emergency war funds to go around spending caps established in 2011 and create a gap with the domestic budget, the report said.

“The use of OCO funding to circumvent budget caps in defense spending also ignores the long-term connection between national security and economic security, and fails to account for vital national security functions carried out at nondefense agencies,” the White House said in a recent statement, according to the report.

Lawmakers who support the National Defense Authorization Act indicated that current global threats such as the Islamic State group call for higher military spending, Peterson and Lubold report.

Ashley Parker also writes in the New York Times that the bill faced objections regarding a provision that would allow undocumented immigrants to join the military.

The House and Senate, which has yet to hold a full vote on the version the Senate Armed Services Committee passed last week, could begin negotiations to reconcile their versions by the end of the summer, the report said.

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