Last week, the House Appropriations Committee (HAC) approved FY2015 appropriations for the Coast Guard. Coast Guard appropriations are included in the Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill.

The HAC approved $8.5 billion in FY2015 discretionary appropriations (to be appropriated by Congress) for the Coast Guard, $316 million more than the budget request. The bill also identifies $1.6 billion in Coast Guard mandatory spending, including retired pay.

Operating expenses totaling $6.8 billion are funded in the bill, about $120 million higher than the request.  The 1 percent pay raise requested for Coast Guard military personnel would be fully funded in the bill. Funding would be increased to reduce depot maintenance backlogs (+$73 million), to restore operations hours (+$15 million), and for surge counterdrug surge operations. Additional funding is included to prevent the proposed decommissioning of two High Endurance Cutters. The HAC would also restore funding for cuts to special pays (+$7.5 million).

The bill would increase the request for acquisition, construction, and improvements by $203 million to $1.3 billion.  Funding would be increased to buy two additional Fast Response Cutters (+$95 million), to replace one HH-60 helicopter (+$12 million), and to buy one missionized Long Range Surveillance Aircraft (+$95 million).

The bill would cut a net $10 million for unjustified cost growth in the NSC-8 program, $10 million for schedule delays to the Offshore Patrol Cutter, and $6 million due to excess carryover funding in the polar icebreaker program.

The HAC report expressed the committee’s concern that the Coast Guard did not submit a Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) with the FY2015 budget request as required. As a result of what the Committee called the “Coast Guard’s repeated noncompliance with the requirement in annual appropriations acts,” the HAC bill would withhold $150 million from Coast Guard Headquarters offices funding until the CIP is submitted.