Hardware, end-strength, Russia and China sanctions. Here’s the deal lawmakers reached on the huge defense policy bill.
WASHINGTON — U.S. House and Senate negotiators reached agreement Monday on a $716 billion defense authorization bill that includes a sizable boost in military end strength, more ships and planes than the White House asked for, and a compromise on U.S. sanctions on Russia.
The agreement comes months ahead of Congress’ typical schedule for the sweeping defense policy measure. The legislation has been finalized by Congress for 57 consecutive years but not passed before the start of the new fiscal year in the past decade.
The House is expected to vote on the deal this week, and the Senate possibly in August. From there, President Donald Trump is expected to sign it into law.
Senior committee aides said the speed of the work was designed to avoid political fights and unrelated policy debates heading into the November midterm election.
The measure authorizes a base defense budget of $639 billion and $69 billion more for overseas contingency operations. The totals match previously agreed upon spending plans for fiscal 2019, but break with administration priorities in a host of areas.