House Appropriations Committee Releases Fiscal Year 2015 Defense Bill
Legislation will fund military operations, national security efforts, and programs for the health and safety of U.S. troops
May 29 -
The House Appropriations Committee today released the subcommittee draft of the fiscal year 2015 Defense Appropriations bill, which will be considered in subcommittee tomorrow. The legislation funds critical national security needs, military operations abroad, and health and quality-of-life programs for the men and women of the Armed Forces and their families.
In total, the bill provides $491 billion in discretionary funding, an increase of $4.1 billion above the fiscal year 2014 enacted level and $200 million above the President’s request. In addition, the bill includes $79.4 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) for the ongoing war efforts abroad, the same level assumed in the President’s budget request and in the House-passed National Defense Authorization Act.
“Our first priority as a nation must be our national security and the protection of American interests at home and abroad. This bill provides critical funding for the security of all Americans, the success of our military missions and the fight against terrorism around the globe, and the safety and well-being of our troops who are bravely serving this country,” House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said. “At the same time, we must remain mindful of our very real budgetary constraints. The bill reflects this reality, and helps to ensure that each and every defense dollar is responsibly spent to further our national security goals.”
“This Subcommittee has worked in a bipartisan fashion to provide the Department and intelligence community with the resources needed to maintain and modernize the best equipped and most capable military in the world today and in the future,” said Defense Subcommittee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen. “In addition, we have established priorities that will enhance readiness for our military so they remain prepared to protect America in an increasingly dangerous world. I am proud that we have kept faith with the brave men and women, and their families, who selflessly serve our country.”
Military Personnel and Pay – The legislation includes $128.1 billion to provide for 1,308,600 active-duty troops and 820,800 Guard and reserve troops. This funding level is $669 million below the fiscal year 2014 enacted level, but is sufficient to meet all needs due to reductions in force structure and large unexpended balances. The bill fully funds the authorized 1.8% pay raise for the military, instead of 1% as requested by the President, and provides funding to maintain 100% of troop housing costs through the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH).
Operation and Maintenance – Included in the legislation is $165 billion for operation and maintenance – $1.4 billion below the request and $4.8 billion above the fiscal year 2014 enacted level. This will support key readiness programs to prepare our troops for combat and peacetime missions, flight time and battle training, equipment and facility maintenance, and base operations.
Within this funding, the bill includes an additional $1.2 billion to fill readiness shortfalls, $721 million to restore unrealistic reductions in the President’s request to facility sustainment and modernization, and full funding for the Tuition Assistance program at $475 million. Additionally, the bill fully funds Sexual Assault Prevention and Response programs at $275 million, an increase of $50 million above the fiscal year 2014 enacted level.
Research and Development – The bill contains $63.4 billion – $368 million above the fiscal year 2014 enacted level and $171 million below the President’s request – for research, development, testing, and evaluation of new defense technologies. These activities 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 future security threats.
Specifically, this funding will support research and development of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the KC-46A tanker program, the P8-A Poseidon, the new Air Force bomber program, a next generation JSTARS aircraft, the RQ-4 Triton Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, the Navy’s Future Unmanned Carrier-based Strike System, the Ohio-class submarine replacement, the Army and Marine Corps Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, the Army Ground Combat Vehicle, the Israeli Cooperative Programs, and other important development programs.
Equipment Procurement – The legislation provides a total of $91.2 billion – $1.6 billion below the fiscal year 2014 enacted level and $1.6 billion above the President’s request – for equipment and upgrades. This funding will help ensure our nation’s military readiness by providing the necessary platforms, weapons, and other equipment our forces need to train, maintain our force, and conduct successful operations.
For example, the bill includes $14.3 billion to procure six Navy ships, including $789 million for the USS George Washington carrier refueling project; $5.8 billion for 38 F-35 aircraft; $1.6 billion for 7 KC-46A tankers; $975 million for 12 EA-18G Growlers; $2.4 billion for 87 UH-60 Blackhawk and 37 MH-60S/R helicopters; and $351 million for the Israeli Cooperative Program – Iron Dome.
Defense Health and Military Family Programs – The bill contains $31.6 billion – $1.1 billion below the fiscal year 2014 enacted level and $360 million below the request – for the Defense Health Program to provide care for our troops, military families, and retirees. This level is sufficient to meet all estimated needs and requirements in the next fiscal year.
In addition, within the total $246 million is provided for cancer research, $150 million for medical facility upgrades, $125 million for traumatic brain injury and psychological health research, and an additional $39 million above the request for suicide prevention outreach programs. All of these funding levels represent increases above the President’s request for these programs. The bill also restores $100 million to the Defense Commissary Agency to provide reduced-price food and household goods for service-members and their families.
Ongoing Military Operations – The bill contains $79.4 billion for ongoing military operations in Afghanistan. Despite a recent announcement from the Administration regarding plans for an enduring U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, no Overseas Contingency Operations budget has been submitted to Congress, therefore this level is subject to change.
This funding will provide the needed resources for our troops in the field, including funding for personnel requirements, operational needs, the purchase of new aircraft to replace combat losses, combat vehicle safety modifications, and maintenance of facilities and equipment.
Guantanamo Bay – The legislation prohibits funding for transfers of Guantanamo detainees to the U.S. or its territories and denies funding to modify any facility in the U.S. to house detainees. These provisions are identical to language contained in the House-passed fiscal year 2015 Defense Authorization legislation.
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 savings include: $547 million for favorable foreign currency fluctuations, $592 million for overestimation of civilian personnel costs, and $965 million in savings from rescissions of unused prior-year funding.
For text of the legislation, please visit: http://appropriations.house.gov/UploadedFiles/BILLS-113HR-SC-AP-FY2015-Defense-SubcommitteeDraft.pdf