The White House has threatened to pass the controversial $583 billion defense authorization bill for the year 2017. On the other hand, the House lawmakers have ignored the Democrat objections. The entire scenario is set to create a negotiation process with the Senate members over military policies and priorities. According to the proposal, there will be a 2.1 percent military pay raise starting from next January. In addition, the proposal also talks about boosting the numbers of the Army personnel and a complete renewal of the current military medical care system. The votes 277 to 147 in the favor of the bill by the lawmakers.
Note that the authorization plans along with a couple of defense authorization bills would transfer the current $18 billion of temporary war funds to the base defense budget. This move would pay for the unmet military needs, as the Republicans put it. The Congress and the White House has created the two-year budget in a bid to keep the spending within parameters. However, many see the move as creating a vacuum for the overseas mission that would not get any funding after next April. In addition, it would also create several such missions in the future and increase infrastructure and personnel cost. White House and the Pentagon officials have completely disregarded the plan, saying that it’s a gamble with military spending. President Obama has threatened to veto the proposal.
However, according to House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, financial fixes are necessary and need to be immediately addressed.
He added, “Just think about what the alternative is: ‘No, we’re not going to help troops now, because we’re not sure where the money is going to come from next year or in five years or in 10 years. But in the meantime, while we’re not sure about all of that … more people stand in danger of losing their lives.”
As of now, Senate Republicans are not with the current funding plan. They have decided to create their own draft and present on the Senate floor by next week. If passed, both the versions of the annual legislation will go to a conference committee in early June.
On the other hand, Democrats who are against the measure also shed light on the authorization governing operations against the ISIS group in Iraq and some of the restrictions pertaining to the detention facilities in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
According to the House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith, D-Wash, there were several points of conflict that compelled him to stand against the proposal.
He added, “They have misused the rules process to avoid votes on women’s equality, labor laws, and taxpayer-funded discrimination against LGBT individuals, while adding further restrictions on transfers from the Guantanamo detention facility, cutting funds for nuclear nonproliferation, and adopting a range of other highly problematic provisions.”