Democrats on Monday evening released an updated version of their proposed pandemic relief package that includes $2.5 billion for defense but no allotted funds to cover defense industry’s COVID-related costs.
Ellen Lord, the Pentagon’s top acquisition official, has previously urged lawmakers to appropriate reimbursement funds for industry in the next relief bill, estimating the costs to be between $10 billion to $20 billion.
“Democrats are making good on our promise to compromise with this updated bill, which is necessary to address the immediate health and economic crisis facing America’s working families right now. We have been able to make critical additions and reduce the cost of the bill by shortening the time covered for now,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement.
The new $2.2 trillion HEROES Act emergency spending package does include $1.4 billion to cover the salaries of on-base employees, $705 million for the Defense Health Program for pandemic-related medical equipment and $320 million for personal protective equipment.
The Democrats’ new bill follows a proposed $500 billion version from Republicans earlier this month that included no dollars for defense, with the legislation ultimately failing in the Senate.
In July, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had introduced a $1 trillion package with $29 billion for defense, including $11 billion for defense industry support and $7 billion for new weapons procurement.