Today, the House will vote on one of the most important defense funding bills in recent memory. The Department of Defense Appropriations Act, which passed out of committee with an overwhelming bipartisan vote, raises overall military funding to $674.6 billion. With this bill, the House is keeping our promise to build a 21st century military worthy of the sacrifices made by the men and women who serve.
Here are eight reasons this bill is so important:
It provides the biggest pay raise for our service members in nine years. This defense bill takes care of our men and women in uniform—both the more than 1.3 million active-duty troops and the more than 817,000 Guard and Reserve members. It gives service members a 2.6 percent pay raise—the largest in nine years.
It takes care of our service members and their families. The bill provides $34.4 billion in funding for the Defense Health Program so that troops, military families, and retirees can receive the care they need. This includes funding for cancer research, psychological health research, and sexual assault prevention and response.
It addresses our military readiness crisis. Over five years, aviation accidents cost us 133 American lives, part of a significant and deadly readiness crisis throughout the military. To reverse this grave trend, this bill makes investments—nearly $246 billion—in training, maintenance, and other military readiness programs. We’re taking steps to make sure more lives aren’t lost because of outdated, subpar equipment. It started with last year’s funding bill, and this year’s bill continues that commitment.
It upgrades our military equipment. This bill spends more than $145 billion to upgrade and secure military equipment across all branches of the military—including helping replenish the Naval fleet and procure new vehicles, aircraft, and helicopters.
It supports counterterrorism efforts. We still face very real and serious global threats, and we need to ensure our military can continue current operations against these terrorist organizations. This bill puts $68.1 billion specifically toward those efforts, including funding for personnel, facilities, and equipment. It also provides support for our allies in these critical fights.
It modernizes our military for the 21st century. Warfare, and the global landscape, is always changing. This bill will help our military stay at the cutting edge of technology and weaponry by allocating more than $92 billion for research, development, and evaluation of new defense systems.
It ensures taxpayer money is spent responsibly. By streamlining needless spending, this bill responsibly uses taxpayer money and ensures our troops are supported by an agile, efficient Pentagon.
It continues Congress’ efforts to rebuild our military. Congress has made fortifying our military a top priority. After years of being hollowed out, the military has finally started to receive the resources it needs to rebuild. Beginning with last year’s defense spending bill, and then continuing with this year’s budget agreement and spending bills, Congress has remained committed to shoring up our defense.
As Speaker Ryan said earlier this week, “We want the men and women who wear our uniform to always, always have what they need to fulfill their missions, and to take care of their families. So we are keeping promises that we have made.”