Just before the August recess, the Senate Appropriations Committee (SAC) approved its version of the FY2014 DoD appropriations bill. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), chair of the SAC Defense Subcommittee said the bill deals responsibly with the effects of sequestration and “cuts waste, prioritizes department spending, and puts a premium on readiness.”
The SAC bill provides $516 billion for DoD appropriations in the base budget (excluding military construction, which is provided in a separate bill), essentially equal to the request. The bill also includes $77.8 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), $2.9 billion below the request.
The House-passed bill provides $512.5 billion for the base DoD budget and $82.3 billion for OCO.
The SAC bill would provide funding for a 1 percent military pay raise proposed by the president. The House-passed bill funds a 1.8 percent military pay raise that would be authorized under the House-passed FY2014 Defense Authorization bill. The SAC restores funding ($297 million) that the administration would cut due to proposed TRICARE fee increases.
The bill also provides funding for a 1 percent civilian pay raise, noting in its report that DoD civilian workers have not received a pay raise since 2010. The House bill cuts funding for a civilian pay raise.
Operations and Maintenance (O&M) funding in the SAC bill would total $178.6 billion, more than $3 billion over the request and the House-passed bill. The SAC includes funding increases for readiness, depot maintenance, and facility sustainment and modernization. In another blow to DoD’s proposal for a Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round, the SAC deleted $8 million in O&M funding related to a 2015 BRAC.
To prepare for the possibility of a FY2014 sequester, the SAC bill provides $5 billion in transfer authority, $1 billion higher than the president proposed and included in the House-passed bill. This authority allows DoD to transfer funds, with congressional approval, from lower to higher priority programs to address shortfalls and other problems.
Procurement funding in the bill totals $98.4 billion, over $200 million more than the request and essentially the same procurement funding level provided in the House bill. The SAC provides funding to build 8 new ships (including two SSN-774 Attack Submarines, one DDG-51, four Littoral Combat Ships, and an Afloat Forward Staging Base) and increases funding to ensure that the Navy can meet ten-ship DDG-51 multiyear contract commitments. The bill also includes funds to buy 19 Air Force F-35 and 21 Navy EA-18G aircraft. Unlike the House bill, the SAC adds $1 billion for National Guard and Reserve equipment.
The SAC bill includes $65.8 billion for research and development, $1.7 billion below the president’s request and $600 million lower than the House-passed bill. The SAC includes funding to continue development of the replacement for the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine, a new penetrating bomber, the Next Generation Aerial Refueling Aircraft, and the Army/Marine Corps Joint Light Tactical Vehicle. The SAC proposes to terminate the Navy’s Virginia Payload Module because of high cost and the lack of a validated requirement and to limit F-35 aircraft development funding to planning for follow-on development.
According to the Committee, the bill includes $12.6 billion in funding cuts to 464 individual programs due to excess carryover from previous years, schedule delays and unit cost growth, unjustified program growth, program duplication, and from programs terminated since the budget was submitted. Much of these cuts were reallocated to higher priorities identified by the Committee.