Members of United States congressional defence committees said on Wednesday they supported a plan for $700 billion in defence spending in the fiscal year 2018, backing President Donald Trump's call for a boost for the military.
The House and Senate armed services committees released details of a conference report on a $700 billion National Defense Authorisation Act (NDAA) that boosts the number of Lockheed Martin F-35s and maintains the Northrop Grumman E-8C JSTARS recapitalisation programme.
The two versions of the bill state that by no later than September 1 next year, the US secretary of defense should submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report on an assessment regarding ports of call by the US Navy at Kaohsiung or any other suitable Taiwanese ports.
Trump's budget request sought $603 billion for basic functions and $65 billion for overseas missions.
While the Senate version said the report should also include an assessment of the feasibility and advisability of permitting the US Pacific Command to receive ports of call by Taiwan's navy in Hawaii, Guam and other appropriate locations, the clause was not mentioned in the summary of the compromise bill published on Wednesday. Trump wants to pay for a military spending increase by slashing non-defence spending.
The bill allots just over $634 billion for core Pentagon operations and almost $66 billion for wartime missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere. The bill, one of the few pieces of legislation that gets through Congress every year, has passed every year since 1961.
U.S. congressional defense committees on Wednesday finalized a compromise US$700 billion defense spending plan for fiscal year 2018 that includes a provision to strengthen defense partnership with Taiwan.