July 16, 2009
Defense Appropriations Bill Passes Subcommittee
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense today passed legislation to fund the Department of Defense through the 2010 Fiscal Year. The bill contains a total of $508 billion, which is $3.5 billion less than the President’s request and 4.1% above last year’s enacted funding level.
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.
House Appropriations Ranking Republican Jerry Lewis praised the bill for its support of the country’s military.
“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.
The legislation includes a 3.4% pay raise for the military, which is in line with increase approved earlier this year by the House Armed Services Committee, and $29.9 billion in Defense health programs. The bill also contains $370 million for the eventual procurement of 12 F-22 aircraft, $674 million for three C-17 aircraft, and $495 million for the purchase of nine additional F-18 aircraft over the budget request. In addition, the bill includes continued funding for the next-generation aircraft carrier, ten new Navy ships including four Littoral Combat Ships, and $440 million in funding for a new aerial refueling tanker. The legislation does not contain $100 million requested by the Administration for the disposition of detainees in the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility.
While supportive, Lewis and Committee Republicans maintained several concerns with legislation, including the overall funding level. While the bill receives a 4.5% increase over last year, the increase is not comparable to non-defense Appropriations bills, which average 12% increases for the next fiscal year. The bill also rescinds funding from a variety of military programs, including a reserve fund designed to offset the costs of fluctuating fuel prices.
“A four percent increase to Defense while domestic programs benefit from double digit spending increases is the wrong way to prioritize spending. The recession is squeezing our resources and tough decisions need to be made to provide for our national defense while reining in spending on less-important programs,” Lewis said.