December 16, 2009
Summary – Fiscal Year 2010 Defense Appropriations Bill Package
The Fiscal Year 2010 Defense Appropriations legislation represents a bi-partisan compromise between the House and Senate versions of this bill, and contains vital resources for our men and women in uniform and their families.
This troop funding bill contains $636.3 billion in total (mandatory and discretionary) funding, which is $4.4 billion above last year’s funding level and $3.8 billion below the request. Non-emergency discretionary spending in the bill totals $508 billion, which is $3.5 billion less than the President’s request and 4.1% over last year.
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 Services and their families.
However, this legislation is also being used as a vehicle to carry several non-defense legislative items, including several temporary extensions to existing domestic programs. Many of these additional items were included as part of the “stimulus” legislation earlier this year, and total approximately $20 billion. These expensive and unrelated provisions should have been considered separately and on their own merits - not added on at the last minute to this must-pass troop funding bill.
Appropriations Committee Republicans do not support the inclusion of these extraneous provisions on a bill that should be solely focused on providing resources for military. However, while Republicans would have preferred a “clean” Defense Appropriations bill, the critical importance of the underlying legislation surmounts the addition of these items.
DOD APPROPRIATIONS HIGHLIGHT/CONCERNS:
Ongoing Military Operations –
The bill contains $128.2 billion for ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. This will provide critical resources for our troops in the field, including funding for personnel requirements, operational needs, and maintenance of facilities and equipment. This legislation does not include funding for the Administration’s proposed “surge” in Afghanistan.
Military Pay Raise –
The bill provides a $350 million for a 3.4% military pay increase, which is in line with increase approved earlier this year in the Defense Authorization legislation. This is an increase of 0.5% over the President’s military pay raise request.
Defense Health and Military Family Programs –
The bill contains $29.2 billion - $3.4 billion above last year’s level and $1.3 billion above the request - in Defense health programs to provide care for our troops and military families. This includes $120 million over the budget request for traumatic brain injury and psychological health treatment. An additional $1.2 billion is provided for medical care for active duty forces and mobilized Reserve troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and their families. The legislation also includes $472.4 million for family support and advocacy programs.
Equipment Procurements –
The bill includes $104.4 billion in funding for important military equipment procurements or $3.5 billion over last year. Some important equipment investments include:
· $1.5 billion for the purchase of 18 F-18 Super Hornet aircraft - nine over the President’s request
· $1.6 billion and multi-year authorization language for 22 EA-18G Growler electronic aircraft
· $6.2 billion for the procurement of 30 F-35 aircraft
· $465 million for procurement of the alternative engine for the Joint Strike Fighter aircraft
· $2.5 billion for 10 additional C-17 cargo aircraft over the President’s request. There is no funding for additional C-40 or C-37 aircraft above the request.
· $130 million for the Presidential Helicopter program to facilitate the eventual termination of the program
· $15 billion for the procurement of seven Navy ships
· $2.2 billion for the restructured Future Combat Systems
· $6.3 billion in war funding for the procurement of 6,600 new MRAPs (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles). However, this does not address DoD’s estimated need for an additional 4,000 MRAPs in the near future as part of an enhanced mission in Afghanistan.
Guantanamo Bay –
The legislation does not contain $100 million requested by the Administration for the disposition of detainees in the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility.
The Obama Administration has announced that as part of its plan to close Guantanamo, many detainees would be transferred to the U.S. for trials or indefinite detention. Over the objections of Republicans, the bill does not prevent the transfers of detainees to the U.S. and specifically allows transfers for the purposes of prosecution.
Defense Contractor Arbitration –
The bill includes language to prevent DoD contractors and subcontractors from entering into arbitration agreements. The wholesale elimination of an entire branch of legal proceedings will greatly limit the ability to negotiate and settle disputes, potentially driving up costs and creating lengthy legal battles.
Unemployment Insurance Extension – The bill contains a two-month extension of unemployment benefits for Americans who have exhausted their current benefits. The legislation would provide funds for unemployment programs in every state, with additional funds going to states with an average three-month unemployment rate above 8.5 percent.
COBRA Extension – The bill contains a two month extension of the COBRA health insurance subsidy program for the unemployed. Earlier this year, Congress approved an enhanced COBRA benefit as part of the “stimulus” legislation. This allowed the federal government to pay 65 percent of COBRA costs for nine months for those who lost their jobs before the end of this year. The provision in this bill would extend that deadline into February.
Food Assistance Administrative Costs Extension – The bill contains funding for additional administrative costs for states to administer the food stamp program for the higher number of participants currently enrolled and the number of new participants expected over the next several months.
Medicare Physician Payments Extension – The bill contains two months of funding to temporarily offset automatic cuts in Medicare payments to doctors.
Small Business Loan Fee Reductions and 90% Guarantee Extension – The bill contains two months worth of funding to offset higher guarantees and reduce fees for certain business loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration. Funds for these offsets was originally included in the “stimulus” legislation, but is now almost exhausted.
Patriot Act Extension – The bill contains a temporary two month extension to various counterterrorism provisions within the Patriot Act that are set to expire at the end of the month.
Surface Transportation Program Extension – The bill contains a two month continuation of funding and receipts for basic highway, transit, and transportation safety programs. The current funding authorization will end on December 18th.
Flood Insurance Extension – The bill contains a two month authorization extension for the National Flood Insurance Program.
Satellite TV Reauthorization Extension - The bill contains a 90 day extension of a copyright law that would otherwise expire on December 31, 2009, which permits satellite television providers to retransmit certain network programming to subscribers. This would allow households that subscribe to various satellite television services to continue to view network broadcasts.