A House panel on Wednesday approved $10.5 billion for Special Operations Command and its Navy SEALs unit widely praised for the bold mission to take out terrorist leader Usama bin Laden.
By voice vote, the House Armed Services subcommittee on emerging threats and capabilities agreed to the amount, an increase of about 7 percent from the current level, with lawmakers marveling at the success of the Navy SEALs. The elite unit infiltrated bin Laden's Pakistan compound on Monday and killed the mastermind of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, chairman of the subcommittee, said Special Operations Forces "do such things time and again with precision and professionalism that is unmatched."
The subcommittee's top Democrat, Rep. Jim Langevin of Rhode Island, said the United States is deeply indebted to them.
The full Armed Services Committee will consider the legislation next week and could increase the amount for the command.
The various subcommittees began work on Wednesday on the defense bill for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. The overall amount is in line with President Barack Obama's request of $553 billion for the Defense Department plus $118 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The total House-passed amount for defense is $583 billion, which includes $6.8 billion in mandatory spending and money for atomic energy and other defense-related activities.