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Sen. Thad Cochran Proposes $650.7B Defense Spending Package

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R- Mississippi) has proposed a defense policy bill that would allocate $581.3 billion in base budget, $64.9 billion in overseas contingency operations funds and $4.5 billion in emergency missile defense funds for fiscal year 2018, Defense News reported Tuesday.

Cochran on Tuesday introduced the draft bill that Democratic appropriators say goes beyond defense budget caps by approximately $70 billion.

His committee’s proposal seeks to authorize $1 billion in funds for four more Lockheed Martin-built F-35B aircraft and four additional F-35Cs as well as allocate $120 million in additional funds for the advance acquisition of F-35s in support of the U.S. Air Force’s planned fiscal 2019 procurements.

The proposed measure calls for the purchase of two Littoral Combat Ships, two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, two Virginia-class submarines and an aircraft carrier in support of the U.S. Navy.

The Navy would also get $739 million in additional budget to procure 10 more Boeing-built F/A-18E/F Super Hornet jets.

The U.S. Army would receive $309 million in funds to buy nine additional Boeing-developed AH-64E Apache helicopters and $108 million for the purchase of eight more Sikorsky-made UH-60 Black Hawk choppers under Cochran’s bill.

The senator’s proposed legislation would top up President Donald Trump’s $9.3 billion missile defense budget request by approximately $1.4 billion to further support the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense System and procure more SM-3 Block IIA and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System interceptors, the report added.

The proposal came a week after the House approvedconferenced version of a defense spending bill that would authorize $692 billion in funds for fiscal 2018.

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