The House approved a $295 billion defense spending package on Friday that makes wholesale cuts in President Bush's budget for the Strategic Defense Initiative and B-2 Stealth bomber.
Rejecting Bush's argument that the high-priced weapons are key to the nation's defense, the Democratic-controlled House voted 273-105 to adopt the appropriation that largely tracks the separate authorization legislation approved two weeks ago.The legislation cuts money for weapons designed to counter the Soviet threat, which has diminished since the collapse of the Warsaw Pact. The bill adds funds for weapons that proved successful in the Persian Gulf war, many of which were on display here for Saturday's National Victory Parade.
"I think the results of Desert Storm have been a perfect example of how you can be very careful and frugal with the money we've spent and at the same time build systems that will actually reduce the amount of casualties," said Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., chairman of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee.
Bush has threatened to veto the legislation.
The Senate has not acted on its versions of the defense authorization and appropriations bills, which eventually will be compromised with the House-passed measures.
Among the major provisions in the bill are:
-$2.7 billion for the anti-missile Strategic Defense Initiative, commonly known as Star Wars, and $858 million for theater missile defenses. Bush had proposed spending $5.2 billion on the two programs.
-No money to buy four new B-2 Stealth bombers in the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. Bush had sought $3.2 billion for procurement of the radar-evading plane. The administration hopes to buy 75 of the aircraft, priced at nearly $860 million each.
-$990 million for the V-22 Osprey, a tilt-rotor aircraft that takes off like a helicopter but can fly like a plane. The administration proposed no money.
-About $225 million to upgrade the M-1 tank and $90 million to buy new tanks in fiscal 1992 - $46 million more procurement money than Bush sought.