WASHINGTON — On a 336-87 vote Friday, the Republican-controlled House overwhelmingly backed a $649 billion defense spending bill that boosts the Defense Department budget by $17 billion.
The strong bipartisan embrace of the measure came as White House and congressional negotiators face an Aug. 2 deadline on agreeing to trillions of dollars in federal spending cuts and raising the borrowing limit so the U.S. does not default on debt payments.
While House Republican leaders agreed to slash billions from the proposed budgets for other agencies, hitting food aid for low-income women, health research, energy efficiency and much more, the military budget is the only one that would see a double-digit increase in its account beginning Oct. 1.
Concerns about undermining national security, cutting military dollars at a time of war and losing defense jobs back home trumped fiscal discipline in the House. Only 12 Republicans and 75 Democrats opposed the overall bill.