US House passes $717 bn defence authorisation bill

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Washington, May 25 (IANS) The US House passed its $717 billion defence policy bill authorising a pay raise for active duty troops, more warships and fighter jets, and a military parade in Washington.

“This bill invests in training and equipment, it grows the size of all branches of our military and it prioritises missile defence in our nuclear deterrent,” Xinhua news agency reported quoting US House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan on Thursday.

“The key focus of this bill is restoring readiness to ensure that when our men and women in uniform go out on a mission, they have the best equipment, the best training, and the best support our nation can provide,” said Mac Thornberry, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

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The House National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) includes $617 billion in base spending, $69 billion for the Overseas Contingency Operations war fund and $22 billion for nuclear weapons programmes under the Energy Department.

The bill would provide a 2.6 per cent pay raise for nearly 16,000 additional active duty troops, the highest raise in nine years, and extend special pay and bonuses for service members in high-demand fields.

It would also authorise more than $25 billion for equipment maintenance, three more Navy ships than requested by the Navy, 77 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters and the upgrade of thousands of vehicles.

The bill also includes an authorised $39 billion for military aviation upgrades after a series of deadly military aircraft incidents in the past year.

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The House NDAA also endorsed a military parade with the focus on the country’s veterans.

–IANS

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