The US House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday released a draft of its Pentagon funding bill, calling, in part, for an approximate increase of $1.7 billion in weapons procurement from US President Joe Biden's proposed budget, as well as an approximate budget decrease of $1.6 billion in research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E).
Overall, the $705.939 billion defense spending bill for FY 2022 amounts to $9.978 billion increase over its 2021 counterpart. Comparatively, Biden put forward a budget proposal totaling some $715 billion.
The draft bill, drawn up by Democratic lawmakers, has been endorsed by US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, according to the release.
Defense Chair Betty McCollum (D-MN) emphasized in a Tuesday statement that Democratic US lawmakers must continue to support "important investments in modernization" to enhance the nation's strength.
Per the draft bill, lawmakers seek to designate some $110.4 billion for the RDT&E of new technologies and equipment for "tomorrow's challenges." The recommendation amounts to a $3.2 billion increase from FY 2021.
The bill proposes that around $2.1 billion of said RDT&E funds be designated for the US' costly F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, as well as an additional $2.9 billion to fund the "continued development" of the US Air Force's B-21 bomber.
"The Defense Appropriations bill provides resources requested by the Secretary of Defense to protect our national security, maintain a strong industrial base to support good-paying jobs, and counter the rising threats from our adversaries, including China," House Appropriations Committee Chair Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) said in a quoted statement.
While the committee's budget draft calls for $134.3 billion for weapons and equipment procurement - a $2.2 billion decrease from FY 2022 - the Democratic lawmakers are notably pushing Biden for $1.7 billion in procurement funding.
The Appropriations Committee's defense subcommittee is slated to take on the draft during a closed session on Wedneday.