UPDATED 11:03 AM PT — Monday, June 10, 2019
A $1 trillion minibus package is headed before the House Wednesday as congressional Democrats look to avoid another government shutdown like the one earlier this year. Democrats hope by combining five bills together, the package can be passed quickly. However, the minibus is expected to include a defense spending measure, which has become a point of contention between Republicans and Democrats.
Congressional Republicans have reportedly come out against proposed restriction on America’s nuclear arsenal in the House version of the annual National Defense Authorization Act.
House Armed Services Committee chairman Adam Smith has voiced his concern that the U.S. arsenal is “too large.” He said the government spends too much money on so-called “legacy weapons” when there are more modern issues to address. Smith was expected to put a focus on nuclear weapons when Democrats took control of the House, and has spoken about his desire to scale-down the nuclear triad.
“I think a deterrent policy — having enough nuclear weapons to ensure that nobody launches a nuclear weapon at you because you have sufficient deterrent — I think we can do that with fewer warheads.,” stated Smith. “Now, I’m not sure whether that means getting rid of one leg of the triad or simply reducing the amount in each leg.”
Smith is looking to kill funding for a low-yield nuclear warhead, a move that was voted against by every Republican on the subcommittee along with other issues.
Republicans are also opposed to a provision preventing the Trump administration from withdrawing from the Open Skies Treaty, which allows the signers to conduct unarmed observation flights over other countries in an act of transparency. Republicans have accused Russia of denying U.S. requests to fly over some parts of the country.
The bill authorizes a total of $733 billion in defense spending, which is $17 billion less than the Senate’s version of the same bill. The trillion dollar spending package is expected to pass in the Democrat-controlled House, but will likely face a battle in the Republican-controlled Senate as senators craft their own proposals
A hearing is also scheduled to take place this month before the House Ways and Means Committee over the progressive ‘Medicare for All’ proposal. The proposal is seen as a win for progressives, who have been working to get additional Democrat support for the single-payer health care system.