GOP pandemic relief package offers billions for weapons makers – The Daily World

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senate Republicans have laced their roughly $1 trillion coronavirus relief package with at least $7 billion for weapons, most of which are built by leading contractors that contribute heavily to congressional campaigns.

The draft appropriations portion, made public Monday evening, includes money for fighter jets, helicopters, radars, ships and armored vehicles that the measure’s authors have deemed “emergency” spending that is not capped by the budget control law.

It is not clear what the justification is for including the military appropriations. A spokeswoman for Sen. Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Securing billions of dollars in funding for the defense programs now would free up space in the forthcoming fiscal 2021 Defense spending bill for other priorities. Shelby’s Defense panel has yet to write its bill. The House measure is being considered on the floor this week as part of a seven-bill appropriations package.

The measure lists the dollar amounts and programs without enumerating how many items would be purchased in most cases.

The top two defense contractors, Lockheed Martin Corp. and Boeing Co., would do especially well under the measure.

The list of weapons is topped by fully $1 billion for an unstated number of Boeing P-8 Poseidon maritime surveillance jets.

Also on the list is $283 million for Boeing Apache helicopters for the Army.

Missile defense programs, always a favorite of Republicans, would net scores of millions of dollars. Boeing’s Ground-Based Midcourse Defense anti-missile system, which