Today the House passed (336Y-87N) its version of the FY2012 Department of Defense (DoD) Appropriations bill (H.R. 2219).  The House bill provides $530 billion for DoD (excluding Military Construction), almost $9 billion below the president’s request, and $118.6 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) in FY2012, more than $800 million above the request.

The House considered over 70 amendments during floor consideration of the bill and passed almost 30.  The House responded to recent criticism of airlines charging baggage fees to servicemembers returning from deployments.  It approved an amendment sponsored by Rep. Larry Kissell (D-NC) to prohibit funds for any contract with a commercial air carrier if the contract allows the carrier to charge a baggage fee to a servicemember traveling under official military orders.

In a move that is certain to face opposition in the Senate and the White House, the House approved an amendment offered by Rep. Tom Cole (R-MI) that would prohibit using funds to provide equipment, military training, or other support for military activities in Libya.  In addition, Rep. John Conyers’ (D-MI) amendment to prohibit funding to deploy ground troops in Libya was approved.  These provisions are sure to cause problems for the White House.  Last month the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) threatening a presidential veto if a final FY2012 DoD  Appropriations contains so-called “policy riders” that “under mined his [the president’s] ability as Commander-in-Chief.”

The House-passed FY2012 DoD Appropriations bill funds a 1.6 percent military pay raise proposed by the president and authorized in the House’s FY2012 Defense Authorization bill.  Funding in the bill for Operations and Maintenance (O&M) programs would be almost $800 million below the request, but the committee report  highlights funding support for operational training programs, flight operations, training, maintenance, and base operations.

The House-passed bill would provide $107.6 billion for procurement, $3.5 billion below the request.  The bill funds 10 new ships, 32 F-35 (Joint Strike Fighter) and 28 F/A-18E/F aircraft, 11 C-130J aircraft, 71 H-60 Blackhawk and 47 Chinook helicopters, 36 MQ-1, 3 Global Hawk, and 48 MQ-9 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), and 88 PAC-3 missiles.  The bill does not include funding for an F-35 (JSF) alternative engine program, thus avoiding a potential veto threat. 

The bill includes $73 billion for research and development, $2.3 billion below the request.  The bill provides requested funding to replace the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine and Space Based Infrared Satellite system and increases funding for the Multi-Mission Maritime aircraft, and the new penetrating bomber.  The House bill cuts requested funds for the Manned Ground Combat Vehicle, Joint Tactical Radio System, and the Medium Extended Air Defense System.

To meet its lower funding target, the bill includes a number of general reductions.  These include $500 million for unjustified supply increases, $400 million for logistic support contract savings, $1.3 billion due to improved economic assumptions, and $1.7 billion in rescissions to prior year programs. 

The House bill has to be reconciled with a Senate version before it can be sent to the president.  That conference may be later this summer or could stretch in to the fall.  The Senate Appropriations Committee has not yet reported out its version of the FY2012 DoD Appropriations bill.