Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee (HAC) approved FY2016 funding for Military Construction (included in the total Department of Defense (DoD) budget request) and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The MilCon/VA bill and the Energy appropriations bill were the first FY2016 appropriations bills to advance in the House. Noting the beginning of the appropriations season in the House, HAC chair Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY) said this will be, I think, the earliest time in history, at least since 1974, that we will have marked up bills this early.” Rogers said he hopes both bills will be on the House floor next week.

The Military Construction portion of the MilCon/VA bill provides $7.151 billion for military construction projects, family housing, Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), and the NATO Security Investment Program. This amount is $1.3 billion less than the president’s request.

However, $532 million of this reduction was funded in the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) appropriation (Navy & Marine Corps $244 million, Air Force $75 million, and Defense-wide accounts $213 million). Therefore, the actual cut to requested military construction programs was $755 million.

The HAC bill would reduce the DoD funding request for active component military construction projects by $389 million (excluding funds transferred to OCO) and Guard and Reserve accounts by $39 million. The HAC bill would fully fund the request for Family Housing projects and existing Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC). The bill would also add $30 for the NATO Security Investment Program to support fixed and mobile infrastructure projects for NATO operations and $30 million to the Army for the construction of access roads.

The HAC bill also would rescind $386.5 million from prior appropriations Acts. 

The HAC took no action on the administration’s request to authorize another BRAC round as such an authorization is not under the committee’s jurisdiction.