July 30, 2009
House Approves Fiscal Year 2010 Defense Funding Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House today approved Appropriations legislation to fund the Department of Defense and other national security operations through the next fiscal year. The bill contains $636.6 billion in total (mandatory and discretionary) funding, which is $10.2 billion above last year’s funding level and $3.8 billion above 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 for our troops 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.
House Appropriations Ranking Republican Jerry Lewis voted in favor of the legislation.
“There is nothing more important than the safety and security of our nation and its people. This bill will provide our troops with the support they deserve, and will allow them to continue their extraordinary work to protect the American people, our way of life, and to promote freedom around the globe,” Lewis said.
Specifically, the legislation provides $104.2 billion for ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, $122.4 billion for a 3.4% pay raise for the military, and $29.9 billion for health care and support programs for troops and their families. The legislation also funds procurements of important military equipment and resources, including $674 million for three C-17 aircraft, $495 million for the purchase of nine additional F-18 aircraft over the budget request, $440 million in funding for a new aerial refueling tanker, and continued funding for the next-generation aircraft carrier and ten new Navy ships including four Littoral Combat Ships.
However, an amendment on the floor eliminated $370 million in additional funding for the F-22 aircraft program from the bill – funding that had drawn a veto-threat from the Administration. Lewis and Defense Appropriations Ranking Republican Bill Young expressed concern at the cut given that the U.S. Air Force has repeatedly stated that stopping production on the F-22s poses a “medium to high” risk to our future national security. Lewis, Young, and Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen attempted to add back the funding through another amendment to the bill, but it was defeated by House Democrats.
“Congress must not put politics above national security. The Appropriations Committee, the House Armed Services Committee, many Members of Congress, and the U.S. Air Force all believe that this funding for the F-22 should be approved. It is unfortunate that rhetorical threats from the Administration seem to mean more to Democrat leaders than our country’s ability to counter the real threats from our enemies,” Lewis said.
In addition, the legislation does not contain $100 million requested by the Administration for the disposition of detainees in the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility, and includes language - inserted by Lewis - to prevent a single detainee from being released or transferred until the Administration produces an assessment of the risks to the American people, a guarantee that U.S. citizens will be both informed of any transfers and ensured of their safety, and a certification that any releases or transfers of prisoners will not place our troops in harm’s way or hinder their efforts abroad.
“The Administration continues to stonewall Congress and the American people by refusing to offer information on their plan to close Guantanamo. It is essential that Congress stop this Administration from rushing to close Guantanamo and transfer or release dangerous terrorists simply to fulfill a campaign promise,” Lewis said.