The House Appropriations Committee has today unveiled its draft version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a $575 billion bill that includes some $59 billion worth of money for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), the controversial fund which the Pentagon is allowed to shuffle around.
This actually looks like a cut from last year’s $612 billion bill, but provides a deliberately misleading figure, as it includes only the first four months of 2017 war funding, with the assumption that whoever wins the November election will seek “emergency funding” to cover the rest of the year.
The White House has expressed opposition to this plan, calling it “grossly irresponsible,” though at the moment they have not said anything about potentially vetoing the bill. This is just one of several topics of controversy in the bill.
Another major issue is the question of forcing women to register for the draft. At present, the new NDAA includes language that would require all women aged 18-26 to register, in a move presented as pushing for “equality.”
Rep. Pete Sessions (R – TX) and several others have expressed opposition to the expansion of the Selective Service program, and Sessions is pushing an amendment to remove the language from the bill. Other bills are in process aimed at eliminating the Selective Service program outright.
The House bill also is setting up a battle with the Senate on the question of a military pay raise, as the House bill aims at a 2.1% pay raise for troops, while the Senate is endorsing President Obama’s own proposal, which is a smaller 1.6% raise.