A bill authorizing $696 billion in spending for the Defense Department, raising military pay by 2.4 percent for service members and creating a new branch of the military for space operations passed the House by a vote of 344–81. The bill authorizes enough funds to go head-to-head with sequestration as it makes a return in 2018 unless a budget deal is reached.
The current debate over whether to create an independent Space Corps under the Air Force has roots dating back 20 years. But there is more being said about it this year, including a stronger appeal from those who want to make sure space gets its fair share of the Pentagon budget.
As space becomes more of a contested domain, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson says the Air Force needs to step up its game.
The defense secretary gave Congress a list of grievances regarding the 2018 defense authorization bill.
Lawmakers are authorizing a budget nearly $80 billion above the sequestration caps.