US Congress approves Pentagon's record $886bn budget

National Defence Authorisation Act heads to President Joe Biden's desk for his signature

The Pentagon building, near Washington. The budget comes at a difficult time globally. AP
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The US House of Representatives on Thursday approved a record $886 billion defence budget that includes money for new ships, aircraft and ammunition, and a pay rise for servicemembers.

The budget won bipartisan approval and was supported more than two thirds of the House. It will now go to President Joe Biden to be signed into law.

This year's National Defence Authorisation Act authorises 3 per cent more than last year, setting a record for a country whose military spending far outstrips that of any other nation. The No 2 spender is China, with a defence budget one third of America's.

The budget, which includes a pay rise of 5.2 per cent for troops, comes at a difficult time globally, with wars in Ukraine and the Middle East, and as China increasingly flexes its military might in the Pacific.

On Ukraine, Congress approved the creation of a special inspector general to address concerns about whether taxpayer dollars are being spent as intended.

Mr Biden has separately asked Congress for $61 billion in assistance for Ukraine as it battles Russia's invasion.

But that emergency spending request is bogged down in Congress, as Republicans have refused to approve assistance for Ukraine without Democrats agreeing to a significant toughening of immigration law.

Updated: December 14, 2023, 7:36 PM