Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee (HAC) approved the FY2017 Department of Defense (DoD) Appropriations bill. The HAC bill would provide $517 billion for the DoD base budget (excluding military construction).

Committee chairman Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY) said the bill “provides the resources needed to keep our military trained and well equipped, to ensure success in our missions now and in the future.”

The HAC followed the House Armed Services Committee’s (HASC) plan for funding Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) only through April 2017 and using some requested OCO funding for base budget requirements.  The HAC bill would appropriate $42.9 billion for OCO requirements and another $15.7 billion to be used to meet base budget requirements.  This total for OCO matches the president’s $58.6 billion OCO request.

The HASC plan for funding OCO was one of the reasons the administration’s Statement of Administration’s Policy (SAP) cited for a potential veto of the HASC bill and will probably draw a veto threat on the HAC bill. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter called the proposal a “raid on war funding that risks stability and gambles with war funding.”

The HAC bill includes an additional $340 million to fund a 2.1 percent military pay raise that is authorized in the HASC-approved bill.  The president’s budget requests a 1.6 percent pay raise for military personnel.  The HAC also would fund the higher active duty (+27,000) and guard and reserve (+25,000) strength levels that would be authorized in the HASC bill.

The base budget bill would fund the Defense Health Program (DHP) at $33.4 billion, $100 million above the request, but another $450 million for base requirements in funded in the HAC OCO account.

Funding in the HAC bill for Operations and Maintenance (O&M) programs would total $179.3 billion for the base budget, about $2.4 billion above the total O&M request. OCO O&M funding of $30 billion includes $5.6 billion for base requirements.  The increase in the base bill funding includes $6.4 billion more than requested for readiness, $1.6 billion more for facility, sustainment, restoration, and modernization programs and another $750 million for depot maintenance.

The HAC bill would provide $104.2 billion for base budget procurement programs ($2.3 billion above the request).  OCO procurement funding totals $16.6 billion, with $7.3 billion for base requirements (including $3.1 billion for shipbuilding and conversion).  The bill would fund the procurement of 15 ships (including three Littoral Combat Ships), 74 F-35 aircraft, 16 F/A-18E/F planes, 72 UH-60 helicopters, 15 KC-46 tanker aircraft, and 123 Stryker upgrades.

Research and development (R&D) funding in the base budget would be $70.3 billion ($1.1 billion less than the request) with another $163 million for base requirements in OCO funding.  Major programs receiving R&D base budget funding include: the new Air Force bomber; a next generation JSTARS aircraft; RQ-4 Triton Unmanned Aerial Vehicle; the Ohio-class submarine replacement; and STRYKER lethality.

The bill rescinds $1.95 billion from prior-year programs in the base bill and $669 million in in prior-year rescissions from OCO funding.  The HAC also would achieve savings of $1.5 billion from lower fuel costs, and almost $600 million because of more favorable economic conditions.

The bill is now ready for consideration by the full House.