Air Force seeks $4.9 billion in emergency funds for storm-ravaged Offutt, Tyndall

Offutt Air Force Base sustained heavy damage in this year’s spring flooding.

WASHINGTON — The House on Friday approved its annual defense policy bill with money to help military installations, such as Offutt Air Force Base, hit by natural disasters.

The legislation passed 220 to 197 on a largely party-line vote — not a single Republican member supported the measure.

Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., was one of only two Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee to support the measure when the panel approved it, declaring it imperfect but good enough to advance.

But that was before hundreds of amendments to the legislation were offered on the floor aimed at shoring up support from the more left-leaning Democrats.

Those included, for example, a prohibition on attacking Iran without congressional approval.

Republicans said such amendments were out of line and unduly restricted the commander in chief.

“It took a hard left turn with those 400 amendments,” Bacon told The World-Herald. “The majority are trying to tie the president’s hands on the border, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, some arms sales to Saudi Arabia and UAE and also nuclear deterrence.”

Bacon voted against the bill, as did Reps. Jeff Fortenberry and Adrian Smith, both Nebraska Republicans, and Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa.

Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, supported the measure.

Democrats said they tried to work with Republicans on the bill and characterized Republicans as abandoning what is typically a highly bipartisan process simply because they didn’t get their way on every issue.

Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., described the measure as “the most progressive” defense authorization bill in a decade.

“Not only does this NDAA and its provisions keep our nation safe, but it honors the values of our country, strengthens our security and advances America’s leadership in the world,” he said.

The bill still must be reconciled with the version approved overwhelmingly by the Senate, which does not include many of the restrictions opposed by House Republicans.

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