ASSOCIATED PRESS- RICHARD LARDNER
The Senate has overwhelmingly approved a sweeping policy bill that would pump $700 billion into the military, putting the U.S. armed forces on track for a budget greater than at any time during the decade-plus wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Senators passed the legislation by a 89-8 vote Monday. The measure authorizes $700 billion in military spending for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, expands U.S. missile defenses in response to North Korea’s growing hostility and refuses to allow excess military bases to be closed.
The 1,215-page measure defies a number of White House objections, but President Donald Trump hasn’t threatened to veto the measure. The bill helps him honor a pledge to rebuild an American military that he said had become depleted on former President Barack Obama’s watch. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and other national security hawks have insisted the military branches are at risk of losing their edge in combat without a dramatic influx of money to repair shortfalls in training and equipment. Congress’ failure to supply adequate budgets is at least partly responsible for a series of deadly ship collisions and helicopter crashes, according to McCain, the Armed Services Committee chairman.