Gen. Darryl A. Williams, Commanding General of U.S. Army Europe and Africa, greeted Rep. Tom Cole and other members of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee during a visit to the 7th Army Training Command’s Grafenwoehr Training Area in Grafenwoehr, Germany, July 31, 2023. (Spc. Christian Carrillo/US Army)

WASHINGTON — The House Appropriations Committee approved its $833 billion defense budget bill for fiscal year 2025, after a session today in which the Republican majority blocked an attempt to restore funds for Ukraine and approved an amendment that prohibits further funds for the Gaza pier.

The committee voted to push the bill forward in a 34-25 vote, divided along party lines, with Democrats objecting to a list of conservative policy riders that would restrict access to abortion and gender-affirming health care while eliminating funds for diversity and climate change initiatives.

HAC’s version of the defense appropriations bill sticks to the budget caps laid out in last year’s debt ceiling compromise, but shifts $18 billion in funds from President Joe Biden’s spending plan — in addition to stripping out funding for Ukraine the Pentagon said would provide long-term support to Kyiv, it cuts money for a Constellation-class frigate while also boosting funds for Israel and adding eight F-35s.

The amendment to add back $300 million in Ukraine aide, offered by Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., was defeated 32-25.

During debate over the measure, Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro, the committee’s top Democrat, said reducing Ukraine aid erases American credibility in the eyes of its allies and partners and pointed out that the majority of funding for Ukraine aid goes directly into weapons built by US manufacturers that are then sent to Kyiv or to restock US supplies in the wake of drawdowns.

“Whatever Ukraine needs to fight the battle for democracy for itself and for the rest of the world is what we ought to provide for Ukraine,” she said. “That’s what we ought to be doing and not talking about denying $300 million in security assistance.”

Rep. Ken Calvert, the California Republican who chairs the defense subcommittee, said he supports Ukraine but that further funding was not needed at this time due to the passage of a supplemental bill earlier this year that added billions to the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative account.

HAC Chairman Tom Cole, R-Okla., said he might be supportive of Ukraine funding in the future but right now it would cut into US operations and maintenance needs at a time when the defense budget is under financial constraints.

House Republicans staved off an amendment from Minnesota Rep. Betty McCollum, the top Democrat on the defense subcommittee, which that would eliminate the conservative political riders on abortion, diversity and inclusion, LGBTQ issues and climate change that Democrats labeled a “poison pill.”

Democrats achieved one non-defense-funding victory, defeating an amendment that would have restored the Confederate monument to Arlington National Cemetery.

Though the HAC budget stuck to the funding ceiling, at the top of the session Calvert said the defense topline was “too low” given must-pay bills and the rising costs of items like fuel. He said that the result of further budget constraints would be the reduction of procurement and development funding needing to modernize the military.

He also lashed out at defense hawks on the House Armed Services Committee who criticized House appropriators’ decision not to procure a second Virginia-class submarine, saying that the HASC version of the National Defense Authorization Act does not include enough money to fully procure a second boat.

“The reason the bill doesn’t fund a second submarine is very simple,” he said. “The contractors can’t build it. There are significant problems with the submarine industrial base that cannot be resolved with symbolic money.”

RELATED: More than 100 lawmakers call for appropriators to restore Navy’s second Virginia-class sub

The bill will now move to the House floor for debate, but could face its biggest battle when it squares up against the still unreleased version of legislation helmed by the Democrat-led Senate Appropriations Committee.

Several top Senate appropriators have shown interest in busting the spending caps for the defense budget, and the more conservative provisions included in the House committee bill are guaranteed to be opposed by the Senate committee’s Democratic leadership.

Read more about the House bill here:

F-35, Israel win big in House appropriators $833 billion draft defense bill
House appropriators spending bill report shows key changes across procurement, R&D