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Senators Debate Defense Spending in FY 2018 Budget Talks

Senate lawmakers on Thursday discussed military spending matters as they work to strike a budget deal for fiscal 2018 before the current continuing resolution expires on Jan. 19, Defense News reported Thursday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) said Thursday in a floor speech that reductions to discretionary defense spending have exceeded nondefense spending cuts by approximately $85 billion since fiscal 2013.

McConnell’s statement was in response to Democrats’ push for equal increases in defense and nondefense spending.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) said McConnell failed to cite increases to overseas contingency operations funds that are not covered by budget caps.

“If you include the overseas contingency operations funding, the reality is that overall defense spending has gone up, not down, over this time period while non-defense discretionary spending has been severely cut,” he said.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) has called for a budget agreement that incorporates a package for health care, disaster aid and protection for young immigrants covered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

“Ultimately the budget agreement must lift the caps with parity between defense and urgent domestic priorities,” Schumer added.

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