With the end of the current FY2017 Continuing Resolution (CR) set to run out on December 9, Congress appears likely to pass an extension until March 2017.
Congressional Republicans, who now control both houses of Congress seem ready to defer action on the final 11 remaining FY2017 appropriations bills until March 2017. There had been movement in the House to propose an FY2017 Omnibus Appropriations bill. But, last week House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY) announced that his committee will start work on a CR that would keep the government operating until March 31, 2017.
“While I’m disappointed that the Congress is not going to be able to complete our annual funding work this year, I am extremely hopeful that the new Congress and the new Administration will finish these bills.” Rogers said. Rogers also said he hoped “regular order” would return to the appropriations process next year “so that the damaging process of Continuing Resolutions will no longer be necessary.”
Some Senate republicans, including Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) chairman Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) pushed back against the House movement towards extending the CR into next year. McCain has been working with his House counterparts to try to complete a compromise version of the FY2017 Defense Authorization bill. However, without a completed FY2017 DoD Appropriations bill, final action on the defends policy bill will likely also be deferred until next year. Congressional Democrats have been pushing for a series of “minibus” appropriations bills, batching the remaining 11 bills.
If that the CR is extended into next year, the FY2017 Military Construction/Veterans Affairs appropriations bill would be the only appropriations bill to become law this year. The FY2017 MilCon/VA bill was passed and signed into law in September along with the CR extending FY2017 government funding until December 9.
The Military Construction portion of the FY2017 MilCon/VA Appropriations Act provides $7.75 billion for military construction projects, family housing, Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), and the NATO Security Investment Program. This amount is $280 million above the president’s request. The Act also funds $172 million in the Military Construction Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) appropriation.
Funding for specific active and reserve component military construction projects in the Act is set at $5.7 billion. In addition, the Act provides another $615 million in FY2017 for the Army ($41 million), Navy and Marine Corps ($316 million), Air Force ($150 million), Army national Guard ($67 million), Air National Guard ($11 million) and Army Reserve ($30 million) to be used for projects identified in unfunded priority lists identified by the military services and provided to Congress.
The Act fully funds the request for Family Housing projects ($1.3 billion) and the NATO Security Investment Program ($178 million) to support fixed and mobile infrastructure projects for NATO operations. The DoD Base realignment and Closure Account is provided $240 million for cleanup and disposal of property under the four closure rounds already approvedThe Act also rescinds $283 million from prior military construction appropriations Acts.