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House and Senate Panels Endorse Bigger Army

US Capitol Building
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Architect of the Capitol
Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The House and Senate armed services committees agree the Army should be larger but they cannot agree how much.

Working on parallel paths on their separate version of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, the House Armed Services Committee endorses a 17,000 increase in Total Army troop strength while the Senate Armed Services Committee approved a smaller 6,000 hike.

The House bill approves an increase of 10,000 Regular Army troop levels over the 476,000 Trump administration request.  The Senate bill has a 5,000 increase.

The House bill adds 4,000 Army National Guard soldiers to the 343,000 requested by the administration and 3,000 Army Reserve soldiers over the 199,000 Trump request.  The Senate adds 500 Army National Guard and 500 Army Reserve soldiers.

That’s not the only difference lawmakers would have to work out before a final version of the annual defense policy bill passes. The Senate Armed Services Committee supports the Trump administration’s request for a 2.1 percent increase in military basis pay and drill pay, while the House Armed Services Committee supports a 2.4 percent increase.

The House version of the bill totals $695.9 billion. The Senate bill spends about $700 billion. Both committees have approved spending more on defense than requested by the Trump administration, a move that requires either amending or repealing caps on military spending approved as part of the Budget Control Act.