Yesterday, the House passed its version of the FY2013 Military Construction/Veterans Affairs appropriations bill (H.R. 5854) by a vote of 407Y-12N. The House bill would provide $10.6 billion for total military construction programs, $573 million below the president's request.
The House bill would fully fund the president’s request for active component military facilities construction for the Air Force and all Guard and Reserve accounts, all Family Housing accounts, Chemical Demilitarization construction, and the NATO Security Investment Program.
The bill would reduce active component military facilities construction funding by $339 million. However, only $85 million cut from the Defense-Wide construction account would result in a program cut: -$75 million for the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System Complex in Romania and -$10 million for contingency construction.
The remaining $254 million reduction is comprised of transfers to other appropriations. The bill would transfer $103 million for the Army cemetery expansion Millennium Project from Military Construction, Army to the Cemeterial Expansion, Army appropriation. Funding for six projects totaling $150.8 million would be transferred from Military Construction, Navy and Marine Corps to the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) appropriation.
FY2013 funding for the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) account would be cut by $212 million under the bill and $20 million would be rescinded from prior-year Defense Agency accounts.
The House bill would also cut $2 million for the president’s proposed .5 percent civilian pay raise. This action is consistent with the FY2013 House Budget Resolution, which calls for a continued civilian pay freeze in FY2013.
The White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) asserting that the president would veto the House FY2013 Military Construction/VA appropriations bill due to its overall lower funding level. However, even though the SAP “strongly opposes” the House action cutting funding for Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System Complex in Romania and “objects” to action that rejects the civilian pay increase, it is unclear what part of the Military Construction portion of the House bill would cause a presidential veto.