On the plus side, the bill would fully fund a number of aircraft programs including the Air Force Long Range Strike bomber and KC-46 tanker. It fully funds the Navy’s Next Generation Jammer and MQ-4 Triton UAV. Funding for the Army and Marine Corps Joint Light Tactical Vehicle also survived intact.
One program feeling pain in this year’s defense spending bill is the Virginia-class submarine’s Virginia Payload Module, which the bill removes funding for altogether because of its “high cost, risk, and lack of validated requirement.”
The bill follows the administration and other moves by Congress in ignoring the current law known as sequestration that restricts defense spending. But Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the subcommittee chairman, called on fellow lawmakers to stop the budget penalty. “With increasingly limited funds, this bill cuts waste, prioritizes department spending, and puts a premium on readiness,” Durbin says. “Our choices will only get tougher if we let sequestration continue for fiscal year 2014 and future spending bills.”
With complications due to sequestration in 2013 and uncertain funding, agencies including the Pentagon have appealed to Congress for funding flexibility. This bill would grant $5 billion in transfer authority for the Pentagon’s overall budget, and another $4 billion in flexibility for war accounts.