Senate Rejects Effort to Increase Defense by $18B

WASHINGTON (AP) -

The Senate has rejected an effort to add nearly $18 billion to the Pentagon’s budget for additional weapons and troops.

The measure fell four votes short as senators shot down the plan crafted by Arizona Sen. John McCain, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee.

McCain and other Republicans pushed for the additional $17.8 billion to fill what they say are shortfalls caused by last year’s budget agreement that restricts defense spending to predetermined levels. They say these arbitrary limits have left the armed forces undersized and unprepared to meet growing worldwide threats.

Democrats had demanded but failed to secure an equal boost in spending for nondefense programs, including efforts to combat the Zika virus and opioid addiction.

The vote came on an amendment to the defense policy bill.