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Mattis OK With Defense Spending Boost -- for Now

He wanted more, but Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said he was satisfied with the military spending increase approved last week by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump.

"This is an important step toward rebuilding military readiness at a time when we are confronting serious security challenges throughout the globe," Mattis said.

"These additional funds will accelerate the campaign to defeat ISIS, support ongoing operations in Afghanistan and address critical budget shortfalls," he added, referring to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

The additional funding of at least $15 billion -- some estimated it was $21 billion -- for the military was included in the $1.07 trillion federal budget resolution for the rest of fiscal 2017. The agreement was signed last Friday by Trump to avoid a government shutdown

The omnibus bill included a $15 billion boost in supplemental defense spending, about half the amount sought by Trump. The funding is designated as Overseas Contingency Operations spending, which does not count against statutory budget caps.

The extra funding for the military, on top of the $578 billion that had been proposed for the overall budget, included $85 million to replenish the Navy's stockpile of Tomahawk cruise missiles, which were used last month to hit a Syrian airfield in response to a chemical weapons attack.

It also included $151 million for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, anti-missile system, which is currently being installed in South Korea to guard against the North Korean threat.

Mattis said, "Everything from new missiles and ammunition, to facility upgrades, to new aircraft are being funded by this bill."

Passage of the budget bill last week set up another spending showdown for the fall, when Congress must pass the fiscal 2018 budget.

Trump last week said he was willing to risk a government shutdown in the effort to boost military spending again, fund the proposed wall on the Mexican border and cut a range of programs.

"Our country needs a good shutdown in September to fix mess," Trump said in a tweet.

Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said lawmakers have more work to do to ensure adequate levels of defense spending.

"We still have a long way to go to get our military in shape to meet the threats we face, and the importance of adequate funding in FY 2018 grows by the day," he said.

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