This week the House passed (326-90) its version of the FY2013 Department of Defense (DoD) Appropriations bill (H.R. 5856). The House bill provides $518 billion for DoD (excluding Military Construction), almost $8 billion above the president’s request, and $88 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) in FY2013.
The House approved a floor amendment, offered by Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) and Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) that reduced the base budget by $1 billion to $518 billion. However, other amendments to cut the budget even lower were rejected.
The House also rejected amendments to cut funding for operations in Afghanistan. However it did approve an amendment to prohibit DoD from increasing enrollment fees for retiree TRICARE for Life.
House Appropriations Committee (HAC) chair Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY) said the bill “supports and takes care of our troops at the highest level possible." Acknowledging that the defense budget must be scrutinized Rogers said the bill "takes a balanced approach to budgeting, making common-sense decisions to cut spending in areas that do not affect the warfighter or our missions."
The House bill funds a 1.7 percent military pay raise proposed by the president and authorized in the House Armed Services Committee version of the FY2013 Defense Authorization bill.
The bill would fund key readiness programs, flight operations, training, maintenance, and base operations. The bill adds funds to reverse the administration’s proposal to retire 18 Global Hawk Block 30 UAVs and to halt the plan to retire Guard and Reserve aircraft until GAO completes a cost-benefit analysis of the plan.
The bill would provide procurement funding to build 11 new ships, 29 F-35 (Joint Strike Fighter) and 37 F/A -18E/F aircraft, and 69 UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters. The bill also proposes $2 billion for National Guard and Reserve Equipment account and adds funds to retain and modernize three of the four Navy cruisers the administration proposed to retire.
Research and development funding in the bill would support development of a new bomber, the KC-46A tanker program, Navy Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle, and the Army and Marine Corps Joint Light Tactical Vehicle.
The Senate has not yet acted on the FY2013 DoD bill. The Senate Appropriations Committee may consider its version of the bill before the August recess, however, no schedule is set for full Senate to take up the bill.