WASHINGTON — The Democratic-controlled House on Wednesday approved $1 trillion in spending in the next fiscal year for a broad range of military and domestic programs that would send billions to Connecticut’s defense industry.
The bill’s approval was a victory for Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro who shepherded through a $190 billion section that covers the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. DeLauro is chairwoman of the Appropriations Subcommittee that holds the purse strings for much of the nation’s social safety net.
The bill, which wraps four of the 12 annual spending measures into one, also includes appropriations for the Departments of State, Energy and Defense for the fiscal year that begins October 1. The vote to pass the bill was 226-203, falling largely along party lines. Connecticut’s five-member delegation supported it.
DeLauro issued a statement after the vote calling the bill’s passage a “big step” toward addressing the needs of working people and the middle class.
“We have made historic investments in programs that provide opportunities for millions of people in areas like early childhood education, child care, public schools, workforce training, apprenticeship programs, groundbreaking medical research, public health, and many more. This bill will help people across the country at every stage of their life, and I urge the Senate to act on it quickly,” she said.
DeLauro is especially proud of securing $50 million for gun violence research in the bill.
The bill faces an uncertain future as the White House has already signaled that it spends too much on domestic programs and not enough on the military. The legislation would boost the Pentagon budget by about 2% in the next fiscal year while providing a nearly 7% increase to health, education and labor programs.
There are also policy disagreements to settle. Democrats want to block President Trump from reassigning military appropriations to fund his border wall. Meanwhile, Republicans have balked at spending more money for family planning.
Democrats also included a provision to prevent the Trump Administration from using military force against Iran without first receiving authorization from Congress separate from the 2001 authorization provided against Al Qaeda. The issue could be a significant sticking point given the recent uptick in tensions with Iran over its nuclear ambitions.
U.S. Rep. John Larson issued a statement after the vote praising its funding for 90 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters — an increase of 12 above the White House request.
“As co-chair of the Joint Strike Fighter Caucus, I am proud to have helped lead the fight to continue to fund the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. Not only do these fifth-generation fighter jets protect our men and women overseas, but the manufacturing of the F-35 supports over 7,000 jobs across almost 40 suppliers in the First District,” he said.
Larson also pointed to funding to ramp up production of Virginia-class submarines important to Electric Boat and continued support for helicopter programs important to Sikorsky.
Larson noted the following highlights for Connecticut’s defense manufacturers:
• $8.7 billion to purchase 90 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters (12 more than the President’s budget request) and full funding for continuous capability development and delivery program
• $3 billion for advance procurement of B-21 Long Range Strike Bomber
• $4.19 billion for two Virginia-class submarines and $4.27 billion in advance procurement funding to support construction of the third Virginia-class submarine
• $2.19 billion for 12 KC-46A Tankers
• $1.6 billion for advanced procurement of Ohio Replacement Program
• $1.41 billion for 73 UH-60 Blackhawks
• $1.31 billion for purchase and development of 6 CH-53K Heavy Lift Helicopters
• $2.61 billion for 6 E-2D ADV Hawkeye, 12 12 Combat Search and Rescue Helicopters, 6 VH-92 Presidential helicopters and research and development of the unmanned K-MAX helicopter