Chairman Rogers Introduces Continuing Resolution to Prevent Government Shutdown, Protect National Defense and Veterans
Mar 4, 2013 -
House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers today introduced a Continuing Resolution (CR) to prevent a government shutdown and continue government operations until the end of the fiscal year on September 30, 2013 (H.R. 933).
The legislation includes a full-year Defense Appropriations bill, as well as a full-year Military Construction/Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill. These two individual bills passed the House last year on a broad bipartisan basis, and have been negotiated by both the House and Senate.
Except for the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs, the CR will extend funding for other government agencies at last year’s levels. However, the funding within the bill is subject to sequestration cuts. This means that the funding rate within the legislation is approximately $982 billion – the level required by the President’s sequestration order.
“The legislation will avoid a government shutdown on March 27th, prioritize DoD and Veterans programs, and allow the Pentagon some leeway to do its best with the funding it has,” Chairman Rogers said.
“It is clear that this nation is facing some very hard choices, and it’s up to Congress to pave the way for our financial future,” Rogers said. “But right now, we must act quickly and try to make the most of a difficult situation. This bill will fund essential federal programs and services, help maintain our national security, and take a potential shutdown off the table. This CR package is the right thing to do, and it’s the right time to do it,” Rogers continued.
Continuing Resolution Summary
Level of Funding – The CR extends funding for operations for all federal agencies, programs and services until the end of the fiscal year on September 30, 2013. This funding is subject to sequestration, bringing the top-line overall rate of spending in the CR down to the sequestration level of approximately $982 billion.
Department of Defense and War Funding:
The CR includes the fiscal year 2013 Department of Defense Appropriations bill, which passed the House on a broad bipartisan basis last year, and which has been negotiated by the House and Senate.
The Defense portion of the legislation includes funding for critical national security needs, and provides the necessary resources to continue the nation’s military efforts abroad. In addition, the bill provides essential funding for health and quality-of-life programs for the men and women of the Armed Forces and their families.
In total, the bill provides $518.1 billion in non-war funding, which is equal to the fiscal year 2012 level and $2 billion above the President’s request. In addition, the bill contains $87.2 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) for Defense activities related to the Global War on Terror.
All of this funding is subject to sequestration, except where noted below.
- Military Personnel and Pay – The legislation includes $127.5 billion to provide for 1,402,108 active-duty troops and 843,286 reserves. This funding level is $3.6 billion below last year, due to the reduction in troop totals. This also includes a 1.7% pay raise for the military, which is in line with authorized totals. This funding is exempt from sequestration.
- Defense Health and Military Family Programs – The bill contains $32.7 billion – $233 million above last year’s level – for Defense health and family programs to provide care for our troops, military families, and retirees. This funding includes critical medial research on combat-related illnesses and injuries, including in areas such as brain trauma, psychological health, suicide, spinal injuries and prosthetics.
- Operation and Maintenance – The legislation approves $173.5 billion for operation and maintenance – $1.4 billion below the request and $10.4 billion above enacted levels. This is essential funding for key readiness programs to prepare our troops for combat and peace-time missions, flight time and battle training, equipment and facility maintenance, and base operations.
- Research and Development – The bill contains $70 billion – $2.5 billion below last year’s level and $521 million above the President’s request – for research, development, testing, and evaluation of new defense technologies. This basic and applied research, system development, and testing will help to advance the safety and success of current and future military operations, and will help prepare our nation to meet a broad range of potential future security threats.
- Equipment Procurement – The legislation provides a total of $100.4 billion – $4.2 billion below last year and $1.3 billion below the President’s request – for equipment and upgrades. This funding is necessary to ensure our nation’s military readiness and provide the necessary platforms, weapons, and other equipment our forces need to train, maintain military force structure, and conduct successful operations.
- Guantanamo Bay – The legislation prohibits funding for transfers of Guantanamo detainees to the U.S. or its territories, prohibits funding to modify any facility in the U.S. to house detainees, and places conditions on the release of detainees to other countries.
- Savings and Reductions to President’s Request – The bill reflects common-sense decisions to save taxpayer dollars where possible, in areas that will not affect the safety or success of our troops and missions. Some of these reductions include: $4.0 billion in savings from rescissions of unused prior-year funding; $515 million for unjustified Army growth funding; and $500 million for excess inventory of spare parts and secondary items.
Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Funding:
The CR includes $71.9 billion in discretionary funding for military construction and the Department of Veterans Affairs. This is $210 million above the fiscal year 2012 funding level, and includes increases for Veterans programs balanced by decreases in Military Construction.
This portion of the legislation provides the nation’s military with the infrastructure needed to house, train, and equip military personnel, provides for the quality of life of our troops and their families, and maintains our strong military base structure. The bill also funds veterans’ benefits and programs to ensure that all veterans receive the services they have earned as a result of their sacrifices and service to the country.
All of this funding is subject to sequestration, except where noted below.
- Military Construction – The bill provides $10.6 billion for military construction projects – a decrease of $2.4 billion below last year’s level. Much of the reduction is due to the Air Force’s deliberate pause in military construction (saving $839 million) and a continued decline in funding requirements for the BRAC 2005 process.
- Military Family Housing – The bill provides $1.65 billion for military family housing, which fully funds family housing construction, and operation and maintenance for fiscal year 2013. The funding provided will ensure quality housing will continue to be available for 1,231,044 military families.
- Military Medical Facilities – The legislation contains $927 million for construction and alterations for new or existing military medical facilities that support and care for 9.6 million military personnel.
- Department of Defense (DoD) Education Facilities – The bill includes $547 million for essential safety improvements and infrastructure work at DoD Education Activities facilities located both in the U.S. and overseas.
- Veterans Affairs (VA) – The legislation includes a total of $133.9 billion in both discretionary and mandatory funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs. This funding will help provide the increasing number of our nation’s veterans with the services and care they have earned. Of that total, $61 billion is discretionary funding, an increase of $2.5 billion above last year’s level. (Approximately $52 billion of this discretionary total was provided last year via an advance funding). All of the funding within the Department of Veterans Affairs is exempt from sequestration.
- VA Medical Services – The bill funds the Veterans Health Administration at $53.3 billion – providing for approximately 6.3 million patients to be treated in fiscal year 2013. In addition, the legislation provides $54.5 billion in advance fiscal year 2014 funding.
- Minor Construction – Minor construction for the VA is funded at $608 million, which is $125 million above fiscal year 2012. These funds will allow VA to make progress on the hundreds of projects already scheduled to build or renovate health clinics, medical residences, and nursing homes, as well as acquire cemetery land and facilities.
- VA Mandatory Funding – The bill fulfills mandatory funding requirements such as: veterans disability compensation programs for almost four million veterans and their survivors; post-9-11 GI bill education benefits for more than 600,000 veterans; and vocational rehabilitation and employment training for more than 200,000 veterans.
- Oversight –The legislation includes provisions to increase oversight of taxpayer dollars at the VA, including requiring the agency to report on construction expenditures and savings, forbidding new changes in the scope of construction projects, and restricting the agency from taking certain spending actions without notifying Congress.
General Items – Virtually all policy and funding provisions included in currently enacted Appropriations legislation will carry forward in the CR. However, some changes to current law are needed to prevent catastrophic, irreversible, or detrimental changes to government programs, or to ensure good government and program oversight. These provisions are funded within the total level of funding in the legislation. Some of these provisions include:
- A provision allowing additional funding for nuclear weapons modernization efforts, to ensure the safety, security, and reliability of the nation’s nuclear stockpile.
- A provision allowing Customs and Border Protection to maintain current staffing levels.
- A provision providing additional funding for the FBI to ensure current staffing levels and critical increases in cybersecurity and surveillance.
- A provision providing roughly $2 billion above the current level for embassy security, which supports the full fiscal year 2013 request and increased security needs identified after the Benghazi attack.
- A provision allowing additional funding to ensure the safe and secure operation of Federal Prisons.
- A provision requiring Immigration and Customs Enforcement to sustain the mandated capacity of 34,000 detention beds.
- A provision extending the current pay freeze for federal employees, which includes Members of Congress and Senators.
- A provision allowing additional funding for the Department of Interior and the Forest Service for wildfire suppression efforts.
- A provision allowing additional funding to maintain the launch schedule for new weather satellites, ensuring the continuation of data for weather warnings and forecasts, including forecasts of severe weather events.
- A provision requiring every federal agency to provide spending plans to Congress to ensure transparency and the proper use of taxpayer dollars.
For the full text of the legislation, please visit: http://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20130304/BILLS-113hr933ih.pdf