Lawmakers early Tuesday morning released final appropriations bills for fiscal year 2023, to include $858 billion in national defense spending and plans for $45 billion in funds to continue assisting Ukraine against Russia’s invasion.
The full 12-bill, $1.7 trillion FY ‘23 omnibus spending package follows months of bipartisan, bicameral negotiations and arrives as Congress faces a looming government shutdown deadline on Friday with lawmakers aiming to pass the legislation ahead of the holidays.
“The choice is clear. We can either do our jobs and fund the government, or we can abandon our responsibilities without a real path forward. Passing this bipartisan, bicameral, omnibus appropriations bill is undoubtedly in the interest of the American people. It is the product of months of hard work and compromise, and I want to thank my friends Vice Chairman Shelby and Chair DeLauro for their partnership and hard work. The House and the Senate should take up this bill and pass it without delay,” Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said in a statement.
The Senate is set to consider the legislation first, with a procedural vote lined up for Tuesday and the upper chamber currently working through amendments that may receive floor consideration.
The $858 billion for defense topline aligns with the recently passed FY ‘23 NDAA and includes $797.7 billion for the Pentagon, an increase of $24.7 billion over the president’s budget request and $69.3 billion more than the enacted FY ‘22 level.
Much of the debate over the last few months was focused on Republicans’ opposition to the lack of parity in increases between defense and non-defense spending in any final omnibus package.
“After many months of ongoing negotiations, we have reached an agreement on an omnibus appropriations package to fund the government for the remainder of the current fiscal year. Since day one, I have insisted on increasing defense funding well above the President’s request without similar increases in wasteful liberal non-defense spending. I’m pleased that this package meets the level set by the NDAA last week, which is $76 billion over last year – an increase of 10 percent,” Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the Senate’s top GOP appropriator, said in a statement. “This process was far from perfect, but ultimately it allowed Republican redlines to be adhered to and because of that I will urge my colleagues to support this package. We need to do our job and fund the government.”
The White House in a statement on Tuesday said it “strongly urges swift passage” of the appropriations package and specifically cited the $45 billion in supplemental funding for Ukraine as part of the measure, which covers $28 billion for Pentagon-specific efforts.
“These resources would mean additional defense equipment for Ukraine and lifesaving humanitarian assistance for the Ukrainian people. The administration appreciates the continued bipartisan support for these resources to counter [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s war,” the White House wrote.
The $45 billion for Ukraine, which would be the fourth such emergency spending measure and is $6.2 billion more than the White House requested, includes $9 for the Pentagon’s Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative to procure capabilities for Kyiv and increases the presidential drawdown authority to transfer weapons to Ukraine by another $14.5 billion.
The supplemental funding measure also covers $11.9 billion to help replenish U.S. stocks of equipment sent to Ukraine, $7 billion for European Command-related operations and activities and $560 million in State Department security assistance funding for Ukraine and other allies.
For the Pentagon, appropriators have also increased procurement spending in FY ‘23 by $17.2 billion up to $162.2 billion and boosted research and development funds by $9.8 billion over the request for a level of $136.7 billion.
The bill funds $8.5 billion to procure the requested for 61 F-35 aircraft as well as restores funds for an additional 19 F-35, while appropriators also included 10 more HH-60W combat rescue helicopters for a total of 20 at $1.2 billion and funded a third lot of CH-47F Chinook Block II helicopters and included long-lead funding for a fourth lot “to ensure that the Army stays on schedule with the program of record.”
Appropriators also provide $31.96 billion for shipbuilding, a $4 billion increase over the Navy’s budget request, which covers three DDG-51 guided missile destroyers, two SSN-774 attack submarines, one frigate, one TAO Fleet Oiler, two expeditionary fast transports, one towing, salvage, and rescue ship, and one LPD Flight II amphibious transport dock.
The final defense appropriations bill also adds $821 million above the Army’s request for Stryker vehicle and Abrams tank upgrades, while also funding the service’s request for production of 28 Mobile Protect Firepower systems at $354 million.
Appropriators have also fully-funded the continued development of the Air Force’s B-21 bomber and Next-Generation Air Dominance programs, at $3.1 billion and $1.7 billion respectively, as well as securing $1.1 billion for the Army’s Future Long Range Assault Aircraft and Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft efforts.