The Senate Appropriations Committee (SAC) and the full House passed their respective versions of the fiscal year 2019 defense appropriations bill June 28.

The Senate panel approved its version by a 30-1 vote, while the House cleared its legislation by a 359-49 vote. Both bills would provide about $675 billion for defense (Defense Daily, June 26). 

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C)
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C)

The Senate bill now heads to the full Senate for its consideration. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a SAC member, said he plans to offer a floor amendment to boost missile defense funding for Israel by $100 million.

While the bill already provides $500 million for Israeli missile defense, which is in line with the first year of a 10-year memorandum of understanding that the Obama administration negotiated with Israel, Graham said Congress is not bound by that amount.   

“Historically, we have given Israel, for the last five years, $598.34 million,” Graham said. “I believe that reducing missile defense numbers now makes no sense given the threats Israel faces.”

In the House, lawmakers late June 27 passed an amendment by Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.) that would allow the Navy to conduct a dual buy of the third and fourth Ford-class aircraft carriers.

“A two-ship buy of CVN-80 and CVN-81 saves more than $1.6 billion in shipbuilder costs when compared to single-ship procurements,” Wittman said. “When government-furnished equipment is included, the total savings are projected to reach $2.5 billion. Additionally, increasing the build rate encourages the shipbuilder and suppliers to make capital investments that produce production efficiencies and reduce costs for these and future ships in the Ford class.”

The House June 28 rejected an amendment by Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) to fund long-lead-time materials to increase construction of Virginia-class submarines to three a year in FY 2022 and FY 2023, up from two a year today. Opponents said the amendment would have taken more than $1 billion from other key programs.