United States

White House knocks defense bill’s Crimea, INF Treaty provisions

The Trump administration on Wednesday took issue with a number of provisions in the House version of the annual defense policy bill, but generally commended lawmakers for bulking up military spending.

Among the provisions targeted by the administration are ones that would prevent a new round of base closures, establish a new branch of the military dedicated to space, limit an arms treaty with Russia, require congressional notification of cyber operations and prevent recognition of Russian sovereignty over Crimea.

“The administration appreciates the House Armed Services Committee’s (Committee) continued work on behalf of our national defense and supports a number of provisions,” the White House said in a statement of administration policy. “The administration is in the midst of conducting several strategic reviews that affect multiple provisions in this bill, such as those addressing space organization and management and naval ship force structure. Once these reviews are complete, the administration will be prepared to suggest modifications to these provisions.”

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which is coming to the House floor on Wednesday, would authorize a total of $696.5 billion for defense. Approximately $621.5 billion would go toward the base defense budget and $75 billion would be allocated for a war fund known as the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account. Roughly $10 billion of the OCO account would be used for base budget items.

The bill is $28.5 billion above what President Trump had requested, but $8.5 billion less than what committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) originally planned to put in the bill.

Read more at The Hill

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Rebecca Kheel