PDA

View Full Version : Senate Votes $355 Bln for Defense as Congress Speeds War Budget



Shaffer
08-05-02, 09:08 AM
The U.S. Senate passed, 95- 3, a $355.4
billion defense budget for next year that ends United Defense Industries
Inc.'s development of the Crusader mobile howitzer and boosts funds for a
replacement weapon.
The bill adds almost $1 billion for Navy shipbuilding and funds the Lockheed
Martin Corp. F-22 fighter. The House passed a $354.7 billion defense
appropriation last month. The two chambers plan to negotiate a compromise in
September of this first major fiscal 2003 spending bill they've both
approved.
``This is the largest bill the Senate has ever considered -- $35 billion
more than what was appropriated in fiscal 2002 and $700 million more than
recommended by the House last month,'' said Senator Daniel Inouye, a
Democrat from Hawaii who chairs the defense appropriations panel. ``In light
of the threats this nation faces, I believe the increase is
well-warranted.''
It's the largest one-year increase since 1966, during the U.S. military
build-up in Vietnam. The size of the increase -- 13 percent when counting
spending for Energy Department programs and military construction -- and the
speed with which it passed underscore the urgency lawmakers attach to the
wartime budget.
Congress already has sent to President George W. Bush a $28.9 billion
appropriation to cover added expense this year for the war on terrorism and
U.S. defenses. The Pentagon will get about $14 billion of that.
The emergency bill includes $377 million to speed production by Boeing Co.
of kits designed to convert unguided ordnance into satellite-guided,
all-weather Joint Direct Attack Munitions, or Jdams. The money will allow
Boeing to increase production by next year to 2,800 JDAMS a month from the
1,500 a month produced now.
Funds for Crusader Diverted
Three of the four congressional committees that control defense spending
backed the Bush administration's plan to end the $11 billion Crusader
program. The House panel that authorizes defense programs in May blocked
termination of the howitzer after lobbying by the contractor and the U.S.
Army.
The Senate endorsed the Army's plans for transforming itself into a more
mobile force by diverting the Crusader money to efforts to build a
replacement weapon.
The $475 million requested for Crusader was transferred to an account for
continued research on the Future Combat System program on which Boeing Co.
is the primary systems integrator. United Defense may receive a contract
worth as much as $195 million of this to continue research.
Navy Communications Net
Overall, the Senate approved $11.4 billion less than the administration
asked for. Some of that, including $10 billion the president sought for an
Emergency Response Fund, may be included in another bill later this year.
The measure doesn't include $10 billion for military construction passed in
a separate bill.
In a split with the House, the Senate approved without restrictions the
Navy's $1.42 billion request to continue converting the service's computers
into the so-called Navy-Marine Corps Intranet. The new communications
network is the Pentagon's most extensive and costly information technology
program.
The House subtracted $120 million from the request and told the Navy to stop
ordering workstations from Electronic Data Systems Corp. until units are
thoroughly tested.
By a voice vote, the Senate added to the bill a provision denying defense
contracts to companies that have moved offshore to reduce their tax bills.
Democrats have labeled those countries unpatriotic for denying the Treasury
tax revenue as the U.S. is conducting a war against terrorism.
Procurement
The Senate approved $71.5 billion for procurement exceeding the
administration's request by about $4.3 billion and includes:
-- $9.15 billion for shipbuilding, a net increase of $960 million over the
Navy's request. The additional money will support two additional DDG-51
destroyers build by Northrop Grumman Corp. and General Dynamics Corp., a new
Virginia class submarine built jointly by the companies, the LPD-17
transport built by Northrop Grumman, and the overhaul of two nuclear
submarines.
Most of the added money pays for ``prior year'' cost growth in existing
shipbuilding contracts, including $570 million for the LPD-17.
-- $4.1 billion to buy 23 more F-22 Lockheed F-22 fighters;
-- $3.4 billion for 48 Boeing Co. F/A-18 E/F Navy fighters, an increase of
four aircraft and $240 million over the request.
-- $3.2 billion to buy 15 Boeing Co. C-17 transports, three aircraft and
$586 million over the request;
-- $1.6 billion to buy another 11 Boeing-Textron Inc. V-22 Osprey aircraft
now undergoing flight testing;