The House passed a totally a reasonable defense spending bill Thursday that kept funding for expensive tanks and fighter jets despite recommendations to do the exact opposite from the Pentagon, and a veto threat from the White House.
The military spending bill, worth $601 billion on the books, will have to be approved by the Senate, where it has little chance of survival. The Senate Armed Services Committee is already working diligently on their own draft of the bill. The House's copy defied the wishes of the Pentagon and the White House in favor of ensuring the U.S. military's might when that money could have gone to other things, perhaps more prescient needs like infusing Veterans Affairs with funding that could help the millions of veterans waiting for healthcare. That scandal grows more and more by the day. Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki refuses to resign.
Instead, the House's bill does this:
The bill also requires the Navy to begin planning the costly refueling of its nuclear-powered USS George Washington aircraft carrier after the Pentagon said it was considering retiring it early to save billions of dollars.
The legislation would also force the Pentagon to hold onto its U-2 spy plane and scrap plans to lay up 11 Navy cruisers.
To add insult to injury, the Republican-led House used creative accounting to add hundreds of millions in funding to the bill that would not count towards spending caps mandated by the bipartisan budget deal passed in December. An unspecified offset was included to keep the Air Force's A-10 Warthog attack jet fleet in the air. The Pentagon wanted to cut the Warthogs from the budget to save billions and come in under the caps. But House hawks decided to ignore the recommendations from the Pentagon, endorsed by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, in order to that help the U.S. military outmeasure the rest of the world.