WASHINGTON --- House and Senate negotiators have agreed on an annual defense bill that authorizes $700 billion for the Pentagon in the 2018 fiscal year, a dramatic increase over what President Donald Trump sought, as lawmakers aim to restock what they say is a depleted U.S. military.
The bill allots just over $634 billion for core Pentagon operations and nearly $66 billion for wartime missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere, according to summaries of the legislation released Wednesday by the House and Senate Armed Services committees.
The funding also boosts pay for more troops, ships and jets, including 90 F-35s made by Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, all needed to halt an erosion of the military’s combat readiness, the bill’s backers say.
Trump’s 2018 request sought $603 billion for basic functions and $65 billion for overseas missions. Republican defense hawks in particular were surprised the president didn’t seek more given his bullish campaign talk about rebuilding the armed forces. But they kept their criticisms largely to themselves as they set about boosting the Pentagon’s budget to a level higher than at any point during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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