By Mike Stone
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee on Wednesday backed a proposal to increase spending for the Department of Defense by $37 billion on top of the record $773 billion proposed by President Joe Biden.
The vote paved the way for a Pentagon budget of at least $810 billion next year after the Senate Armed Services Committee already backed a $45 billion increase in its version of the bill.
The two chambers will decide the ultimate level when they meet in conference on the bill at an undecided date.
The vote in favor of the $37 billion amendment to the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was 42-17, as more than a dozen Democrats joined Republicans in favor of higher spending. The amendment included $2.5 billion to help pay higher fuel costs, $550 million for Ukraine, funding for five ships, eight Boeing Co-made F-18 Super Hornet fighter jets, five Lockheed Martin Co-made C-130 Hercules planes, and about $1 billion for four Patriot missile units.
Biden requested a record peacetime national defense budget of $813 billion which earmarked $773 billion for the Pentagon. About $40 billion of Biden's national defense budget is set aside for other national security-related programs at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Energy and other agencies.
Biden's budget requested a 4.6% pay raise for troops and the largest research and development budget in history, as Russian aggression in Ukraine spurs demands for more military spending.
Last year, the NDAA authorized $778 billion in defense spending, which was $25 billion more than requested by Biden.
(Reporting by Mike Stone in Washington; Editing by Josie Kao)