WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Pentagon would get $20 billion more money next year -- including a 3.7 percent military pay increase -- under a $288 billion Pentagon spending bill that Congress is sending President Clinton.
The Senate passed the bill on a 90-10 vote Thursday after Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Phil Gramm, R-Texas, objected to $1.8 billion added to the package by a select group of Appropriations Committee members that was not in either House or Senate versions of the bill passed earlier.
Gramm said the extra $1.8 billion represented the eagerness to spend budget surpluses -- "money burning a hole in our pockets" -- on "any constituency that wants it" in an election year.
McCain cited the addition of $5 million for the study of desert tortoises in California as an examples of the items that were neither requested by President Clinton nor written into the bills by either house.
How they voted
How Minnesota's senators voted in the 90-10 roll call by which the Senate voted Thursday to approve a $288 billion defense bill for the coming fiscal year.
On this vote, a "yes" vote was a vote to approve the bill and a "no" vote was a vote to reject it.
Grams (R) Yes; Wellstone (D) No.
"The practice of pork-barrel spending has been out of control for years; only now can we take it to a cosmic level never before contemplated," McCain said.
The House passed the compromise bill last week and Clinton is expected to sign it even though it is $3.3 billion more than he requested.
In addition to the pay raise, the bill includes a 9 percent increase in funds for military health care. Spending on those two items alone would be $988 million above this year.
Overall, the bill includes $75.8 billion for military personnel; $100 billion for operations, maintenance and working capital funds; $59 billion for weapons procurement, $41.4 billion for research and development and $14 billion for other Pentagon programs and classified amounts for foreign intelligence activities by the department, the CIA and other agencies.
On the Net: Congressional Web site: http://thomas.loc.gov
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