The House approved three times as much money for a controversial tactical nuclear missile as was allowed in a major defense authorization measure that it had passed only a day earlier.
The funding of $118 million for Boeing's SRAM-T intermediate-range missile was contained in the defense appropriations conference report that passed the House by voice vote. The authorization measure, which is drafted by the House and Senate Armed Services committees, had only $35 million for the missile. The authorization bill is supposed to establish broad defense policy that is then implemented in the annual appropriation bill.
Both the authorization and appropriations bills are scheduled to go to the Senate today.
The SRAM-T has been criticized as a Cold War relic. Sources with access said it appeared to aides that the appropriators had freed up additional money for the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) by removing part of the tactical anti-missile program to a special account in the office of the defense secretary. The full amount authorized for SDI, $2.89 billion, was retained by the appropriations confereees.
Also funded by the appropriators, but unauthorized, was some $200 million for full-scale development of the Advanced Tactical Fighter, now under development by two competing teams of defense contractors.