“Are we going to help our military continue to rebuild? Are we going to give our all-volunteer force the equipment, training and housing that they need to do their job?” asked Senator James Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma and the chairman of the Armed Services Committee. “That’s what this bill provides.”
Included in that bill is a 3 percent pay increase for troops and $3.6 billion to replenish funds for military construction projects repurposed for the national emergency declared on the southwestern border, much of which Mr. Trump wants for his wall.
But House Democrats have made clear that they will set their own agenda. They are offering $733 million, a number based on previous testimony from Defense Department officials that Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 House Democrat, has called “very generous.” It also includes the 3 percent pay raise for troops.
“For years, Democrats sat in the minority and had to live with certain Republican provisions in previous iterations of the N.D.A.A.,” said Representative Adam Smith, Democrat of Washington and the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. “But the fact remains, Democrats are now in the majority, and while we can all agree on more than 95 percent of this year’s N.D.A.A., the bill will inevitably reflect Democratic values.”
Representative Elissa Slotkin, Democrat of Michigan, who sits on the Armed Services Committee, noted that even the Democratic spending level would be the largest defense budget in history.
“We also have to accept that there is a lot of money sloshing around the system,” Ms. Slotkin said. “The right place to be is ‘yes,’ an increase, ‘yes,’ a pay raise, ‘yes,’ a significant Defense Department budget — but not without accountability.”
Divisions on the normally bipartisan bill were illustrated this month when the House Armed Services Committee voted to advance the legislation 33 to 24 — one of the panel’s most partisan votes in years.