The House approved the passage of a $585 billion defense spending bill which will allow for an expanded U.S. role in combating ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria, as well as continue to support military operations in Afghanistan.
Even though the U.S. is wrapping up its combat mission in Afghanistan and has ended its official operations in Iraq, the defense bill affords an additional $63.7 billion to “overseas contingency operations” in the two counties.
Defense bills generally garner bi-partisan support, but many lawmakers from both sides of the aisle recently expressed concern over the U.S. role in combatting ISIS since President Barack Obama has not sought authorization from Congress for his use of airstrikes and deployment of non-combat troops to Iraq and Syria.
Debate on this issue was further stifled by House leadership, who barred the inclusion of amendments to the bill in order to pass it before the lame-duck session begins. It will now go to the Senate for approval.
Here are some key foreign policy figures from 1,648 page bill:
$24 million: The amount available to for construction and property acquisition at the Guantanamo Bay detention center.
Obama first promised to close Guantanamo before he was elected president. Now as his second term draws to a close, more funding is being made available for the detention center, but this defense bill would explicitly bar the transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees to U.S. federal prisons.
$351 million: The amount available to Israel in order to enhance and expand its “Iron Dome” rocket defense system.
This allocation would double the amount offered to Israel for its defense system last year.
$2.9 billion: The amount available to the Afghanistan Ministry of Defense.
This is down from $5.8 billion which was allocated to the country’s defense department last year. The United States will only have a maximum of 10,000 troops in Afghanistan by the end of this year as part of its security agreement with Afghanistan.
$1.6 billion: The amount available to “train and equip” Iraqi security forces. The passage of this bill will offer allow for supplies and support as well as stipends to go to Kurdish and tribal security forces in addition to Iraqi troops.
$75 million: The amount available to support the government of Ukraine.
Not a single mention was made of Ukraine in the last defense spending bill, but with nearly 4,500 killed in the conflict there since April, a lot has changed in a year.