The Senate Armed Services Committee on Monday released all the unclassified details of its fiscal year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act, showing lawmakers in that chamber disagree with their House counterparts on little except by how much to exceed the White House’s request for construction of a new plutonium pit factory in South Carolina. 

The Senate Armed Services Committee wants to authorize $1.25 billion for the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) Savannah River Plutonium Processing Facility, according to the report accompanying the committee’s version of the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). 

The full House’s NDAA, approved last week by the full chamber, would provide about $1.13 billion. The Senate committee’s proposal beats the White House request by about $500 million, the House’s by about $375 million. NNSA and Pentagon officials this spring urged the Armed Services Committees not to overfund the request for the planned factory, but Congress has now laid those recommendations aside.

Overall, each 2023 NDAA proposes about $22 billion for the NNSA. The House NDAA would give the agency more than the Senate committee’s NDAA: some $725 million more than requested, compared with about $590 million more.

Most of the extra funding authorized by the House NDAA would be for NNSA’s Stockpile Research, Technology, and Engineering program. The House authorization is some $250 million higher than requested. The Senate Armed Services Committee did not go along with the House’s nuclear-weapons R&D funding bonanza, though it did approve about $50 million more than the request.

The Senate had not scheduled floor debate for its NDAA, which sets policy and funding limits for defense programs for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. Authorization bills such as the NDAA are separate from appropriations bills that actually provide funding from the treasury.

The House was set to debate its version of the Department of Energy’s 2023 budget bill on Wednesday. That energy and water development appropriations act was to hit the House floor as part of a so-called minibus appropriations package that includes several other spending proposals for other federal agencies.

House Appropriators have proposed less funding than requested for the NNSA in their 2023 DoE budget bill. They also elected to provide only the Biden administration’s requested funding for the Savannah River Plutonium Processing Facility: about $758 million. 

The Senate Appropriations Committee planned to publish its appropriations bills by the end of July. That would leave only about a month, considering Congress’ annual August recess, to reconcile differences in the appropriations bills before the government fiscal calendar flips to 2023.