The Senate and House are in recess this week for the 4th of July recess.
Early in the morning of June 23, the House Armed Services Committee approved its version of the Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization bill by a vote of 57-1. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) cast the one negative vote.
As part of the markup, the committee approved 42-17 an amendment offered by Reps. Jared Golden (D-ME) and Elaine Luria (D-VA) to add $37 billion to President Biden’s proposed national defense budget of $813 billion. All Republicans and 14 Democrats voted yes: Langevin (RI), Courtney (CT), Norcross (NJ), Gallego (AZ), Brown (MD), Slotkin (MI), Sherrill (NJ), Golden (ME), Luria (VA), Morelle (NY), Kahele (HI), Veasey (TX) , Murphy (FL) and Horsford (NV).
The Senate Armed Services Committee had previously authorized an increase of $45 billion from the President’s request.
In another major decision, the House committee voted to continue the development of a nuclear sea-launched cruise missile, a project that the White House has tried to kill. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN), chairman of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee, successfully offered an amendment to authorize $45 million for the program, subject to first completing reports on the cost of the missile and its warhead as well as limitations of vessels carrying the weapon.
The Council’s sister organization, the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, will provide a more complete analysis once the report on the bill is released.
On June 22, the House Appropriations Committee approved the Fiscal Year 2023 Defense Appropriations Bill by a 32-26 vote. The bill provided total funding of $761.7 billion, an increase of $32.2 billion above Fiscal Year 2022, in line with President Biden’s budget request. This total is part of a $1.6 trillion total federal budget ceiling for Fiscal Year 2023 approved by the House on June 8.
The Committee provided a summary of the bill. Among other decisions, the Committee approved by voice vote two amendments offered by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) to repeal the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force.
Reminder: If Congress follows its usual pattern, it will finish the defense authorization process in time for the beginning of Fiscal Year 2023 on October 1 but the appropriations process — approving actual dollar spending — will lag behind.
Still pending: the administration has sent classified versions of the following documents to Congress, but the unclassified versions of the Biden administration’s Nuclear Posture Review, National Defense Strategy and National Security Strategy remain in bureaucratic limbo.
Key Fiscal Year 2023 National Security Bills
Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Bill
On June 16, the Senate Armed Services Committee completed the markup or writing of its version of the Fiscal Year 2023 Defense Authorization bill. The Committee added $45 billion to the Biden Administration’s original request. While the detailed report is not yet out, some of the highlights were included in a committee press release:
FY 2023 Defense funding levels (in billions of dollars)
$817.3 Department of Defense
$ 29.8 Department of Energy
$ 10.6 billion Defense–related Activities Outside NDAA Jurisdiction
$856.6 billion Total for National Defense
$ 45.0 billion Increase from President Biden’s request
Major elements include:
- $25 million for research and development for the sea-launched cruise missile (SLCM-N) and $20 million for the National Nuclear Security Administration to continue research on the W80-4 warhead to be used on the missile despite the Nuclear Posture Review’s recommendation to cancel the program.
- A 4.6% pay increase for military and civilians
- $800 million for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative
- Increases the F-35 buy by seven aircraft
- Requires the registration of women for the Selective Service
- Blocks the retirement of F-22 Raptor jets and 25 EA-18G Growler jets
- Permits the retirement 21 A-10 close-air support jets, to be replaced by F-16’s
- Adds $5.2 billion to the Administrations military construction request
The Council’s sister organizations Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation will provide a more complete analysis once the report on the bill is released.
Aid to Ukraine
On May 19, after a delay of a week caused by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), the Senate approved a $39.8 billion Ukraine aid package, up from a Biden administration request of $33 billion. The vote was 86-11, and was backed by the Biden administration and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and GOP Leader Mitch McConnell.
The 11 votes against additional aid to Ukraine were all cast by Republicans: Blackburn (R-TN), Boozman (R-AR), Braun (R-IN), Crapo (R-ID), Hagerty (R-TN), Hawley (R-MO), Lee (R-UT), Lummis (R-WY), Marshall (R-KS), Paul (R-KY) and Tuberville (R-AL). Afterwards, McConnell rushed to the cameras to argue that the 39-11 GOP vote for the measure proved that Senate Republicans are not isolationists.
On May 10, the House had easily passed the Ukraine legislation by a vote of 368-57, again with all 57 nay votes cast by Republicans.
In late April, the House approved the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act by the overwhelming vote of 417-10. The Senate had previously passed this World War II-style Lend-Lease bill unanimously. The legislation was designed to fast-track the delivery of weapons and other critical supplies to Ukraine.
On May 4, a bipartisan majority of senators voted 62-33 for a measure introduced by Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) stating that any nuclear agreement with Tehran should also address Iran’s support for terrorism in the region, and that the U.S. should not lift sanctions on an elite branch of the Iranian military, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The Lankford measure was a motion to instruct conferees on the United States Innovation and Competition Act of 2021. While the negotiations with Iran on a new nuclear deal are ongoing — former President Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement in 2018 — and the vote was non-binding, the vote was a symbolic rejection of the Biden administration’s efforts to reinstate the agreement. Sixteen Democrats voted for the Lankford amendment: Blumenthal (D-CT), Booker (D-NJ), Cardin (D-MD), Coons (D-DE), Cortez Masto (D-NV), Gillibrand (D-NY), Hassan (D-NH), Kelly (D-AZ), King (I-ME), Manchin (D-WV), Peters (D-MI), Rosen (D-NV), Schumer (D-NY), Sinema (D-AZ), Tester (D-MT) and Wyden (D-OR).
Radiation Exposure Compensation Act
On May 11, the House passed by voice vote a two-year extension of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, coverage for people exposed to harmful radiation from U.S. nuclear weapons testing and uranium mining. Since 1945, the United States conducted more than 200 above-ground nuclear tests, leading to lung cancer, pulmonary fibrosis, and other serious diseases caused by radiation exposure in states like Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and across the West. Proponents of the measure still hope to secure a long-term extension and expansion of benefits and eligibility.
Fiscal Year 2023 Defense Appropriations Bill
House floor consideration of appropriations bills, and Senate Appropriations Committee action, are, to say the least, much less clear. As a reminder, the Fiscal Year 2022 appropriations process was not concluded until mid-March this year with passage of a massive bill that clocked in at 2,700 pages.
Fiscal Year 2023 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill
Fiscal Year 2023 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill
Fiscal Year 2023 Military Construction-Veterans’ Administration (VA) Appropriations Bills
Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Resolution
The annual budget resolutions, which used to launch the budget process each year, may have gone the way of the dodo bird.
Partial Congressional Recess Schedule