US House of Representatives passes $611 bn defence bill

Washington, Dec 3 (IANS) The US House of Representatives has authorised a $611 billion defence budget for 2017.

The bill, which gave an extra $9 billion than the original request by President Barack Obama, was passed in a 375-34 vote on Friday, Xinhua news agency reported.

The extra money would cover a 2.1 per cent pay raise for troops, 0.5 per cent higher than requested, 16,000 and 3,000 more personnel for the army and the marine corps, respectively.

The upper chamber of Congress is expected to vote on the paper next week and send it to Obama for ratification, a White House spokesman said.

The President will decide whether he approves the revision after studying the fine print.

Despite the extra money, House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry thought the budget was not enough.

“My great hope is that the new incoming administration will submit to Congress a supplemental request that can really get about the job of rebuilding the military, which is so essential,” he said.

Within the Base Budget, which finances running costs of the US military, is $543.4 billion, while $59.5 billion are marked Overseas Contingency Operations Budget, also known as the war budget.

The overall budget showed a slight hike from the $607 billion budget provided for 2016.