Navy photo by Lt. Rebecca Rebarich The Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine USS Wyoming (SSBN 742) approaches Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay. Wyoming is the 17th submarine in the Ohio-class and the fourth U.S. Naval ship to be named after the 44th state of the Union.

President Trump signed a defense spending measure of $674 billion on Friday which is the largest defense spending measure since 2010.

The measure is part of a complete spending bill of $854 billion that averts a partial government shutdown and keeps the government running until December 7th. Although $674 billion was dedicated toward defense spending, President Trump signed the bill anyway without additional funding for a border wall, according to the Military Times.

Trump blamed Democrats for not working to place more funding for the border wall and called the spending measure important to rebuilding the nation’s military at the signing of the bill on Friday.

The bill boosts pay for service men and women, equipment, and weapons for the fiscal year 2019 (93 new F-35 Lightning Joint Strike Fighters, 142 Apache and Black Hawk helicopters and 13 Navy battle force ships). The bill also includes appropriations for Health & Human Services and Education.

The House on Wednesday passed the measure 361-61 before the bill made its way to President Trump’s desk.

Specifically for Georgia, the spending bill does include funding for defense, education and healthcare priorities, as well as funding to keep the A-10 Thunderbolts at Moody Air Force Base flying, replace airframes on combat rescue helicopters at Moody Air Force Base, support the Civil Air Patrol which plays an important role during natural disasters, and continue construction on the next class of submarines to be stationed at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay.

Georgia Congressman Scott Austin (R-GA-08), which has two air force bases within his district ( Warner Robins and Moody Field), said the following about the spending measure:

“For the first time in nearly a decade, our military will receive on-time funding that provides for the needs of today while preparing for the threats of tomorrow,” said Rep. Scott.“I am very proud of the work we have done in the House to ensure not just the Department of Defense, but also the Departments of Health and Human Services, Education, Labor, and Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction-Veterans Affairs receive their funding on-time and without the constraints of short-term spending measures.”

Georgia Congressman Sandford Bishop (D-GA-02), which has a military logistics base in Albany and Fort Benning in Columbus, said the following about the spending bill:

“I am encouraged that this appropriations bill will provide timely funding for our armed forces, as well as our Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education.
“The Department of Defense portion of this bill includes $674.4 billion, which is $19.8 billion above FY 2018’s enacted level. This figure includes $67.9 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations funding. The bill includes a 2.6% pay raise for our servicemembers, the largest in nearly a decade. The bill also increases the end strength of our military forces, including active duty, reserve, and National Guard forces. Furthermore, this legislation prohibits any funds from being utilized for another round of potentially debilitating base closures (BRAC). I am also pleased that this legislation invests in a variety of research and development programs, and includes a number of specific investments in science programs at Historically Black Colleges & Universities.
“Additionally, this measure improves our military readiness by investing in numerous programs to ensure our military is the strongest, best trained, best equipped and best prepared fighting force in the world. The bill invests in defense health initiatives that make certain our servicemembers and their families receive top-quality care, and invests in quality of life programs to better enhance the lives of both servicemembers and their families.

The following is a release from the White House on the defense spending bill from President Trump:

Today, I have signed into law H.R. 6157, the “Department of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act, 2019 and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2019”.

Several provisions of the bill (Division A, sections 8068, 8075, 8080(b), 8099, and 8101) restrict the President’s authority to control the personnel and materiel the President believes to be necessary or advisable for the successful conduct of military missions.  While I share the objectives of the Congress with respect to maintaining the strength and security of the United States, my Administration will implement these provisions consistent with the President’s authority as Commander in Chief.

Several provisions of the bill (Division A, sections 8068, 8115, and 9016) also require the Executive to notify the Congress and then wait a period of time before making certain military decisions.  I reiterate the longstanding understanding of the executive branch that these types of provisions encompass only actions for which such advance notification is feasible and consistent with the President’s exclusive constitutional authority as Commander in Chief.  Section 8068 furthermore purports to permit the congressional defense committees to veto a proposed modification of a command structure during the 30‑day waiting period, in violation of INS v. Chadha.  My Administration will treat any such legislative veto as advisory and non-binding.

One provision of the bill (Division B, title II, under the “National Institutes of Health” and “Office of the Director (Including Transfer of Funds)” headings) authorizes a certain transfer of funds with “15 days prior approval of the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Senate.”  Under the separation of powers, the Congress may not make the approval of a committee of the Congress a precondition to the execution of the law.  My Administration will treat this provision as requiring only 15 days’ advance notice to the congressional appropriations committees.

Two provisions of the bill (Division B, section 514(a) and (b)) condition the Executive’s authority to expend funds on consultation with congressional committees.  As I have previously noted with respect to such requirements, I anticipate that my Administration will be able to consult with members of the Congress on these decisions, but the separation of powers does not permit a requirement to consult with the Congress in executive decision-making.  My Administration will accordingly treat the consultation requirements as advisory.

Two provisions of the bill (Division A, section 8122, and Division B, section 210) could be read to prohibit the use of funds to recommend certain legislation to the Congress.  Insofar as these provisions constrain my authority to recommend “such Measures as [I] shall judge necessary and expedient” (Article II, section 3), my Administration will treat them as advisory.

Division A, section 8009 prohibits the use of funds to initiate a special access program unless the congressional defense committees receive 30 days’ advance notice.  As I have previously stated, the President’s authority to classify and control access to national security information flows from the Constitution and does not depend upon a legislative grant of authority.  Although I expect to be able to provide the advance notice contemplated by section 8009 in most situations as a matter of comity, situations may arise in which I must act promptly while protecting certain extraordinarily sensitive national security information.  In these situations, I will treat these sections in a manner consistent with my constitutional authorities, including as Commander in Chief.

My Administration will treat provisions that authorize allocating benefits on the basis of race, ethnicity, or gender (e.g., Division A, sections 8020 and 8040; Division B, title I, under the “Departmental Management” and “Salaries and Expenses (Including Transfer of Funds)” headings; Division B, title III, under the “School Improvement Programs” heading) in a manner consistent with the requirement to afford equal protection of the laws under the Due Process Clause of the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment.


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