US House of Representatives approves record defense spending bill

Lawmakers want to increase the annual military budget to $840 billion

The US House of Representatives has authorized $840 billion in defense spending in 2023, boosting President Joe Biden’s proposed record military budget by $37 billion.

The annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which sets military expenditure, was passed on Thursday by a vote of 329-101.

The bill offers $1 billion in aid to Ukraine, including a program to train Ukrainian pilots to fly F-15, F-16 and other US aircraft. The Ukrainians should familiarize themselves with US-made planes “while the administration continues to consider sending such equipment,” said a statement on Congressman Adam Kinzinger’s website last month.

The bill also bans the supply of the F-16s to Turkey unless the US president guarantees to Congress that Ankara has not “violated the sovereignty of Greece, including through territorial overflights” for 120 days prior to the transfer.

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Last month, the Senate Armed Services Committee proposed its own version of the budget, attaching an additional $45 billion to Biden’s original plan.

Both chambers will vote for a compromise budget later this year. Jack Reed, the chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told Politico magazine on Wednesday that he expects the debate on the matter in September.

The boost to defense spending comes during Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine, and continuing tensions with China over Taiwan and the larger Asia-Pacific.

The US has committed around $5.6 billion in security aid to Kiev after Russia launched its military campaign in late February. The heavy weapons delivered by Washington include M142 HIMARS multiple rocket launchers, M777 howitzers. It has also supplied radars, helicopters, and drones.

The Kremlin has stated that “flooding” Ukraine with foreign weapons would only exacerbate the conflict.

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