By Debbie Gregory.
Defense Subcommittee Chairman Bill Young honors his commitment to our soldiers and their families with the H.R. 2397 bill. There was strong bi-partisan support to approve the defense spending bill. The bill includes base funding of $512.5 billion for the Department of Defense, which is $3.4 billion below the CBO estimate of the President’s request, and approximately $28.1 billion above the estimated fiscal year 2013 sequestration level. For Overseas Contingency Operations, the bill includes $85.8 billion, which is $1.5 billion below last year’s level.
Members of the House worked closely with all interested parties to produce a good, bi-partisan bill. And despite the reduction in their base allocation, they were able to accomplish quite a bit. For example, the bill adds:
- $580 million to fully fund the authorized military pay raise
- $536 million to fully fund anticipated fuel costs
- $950 million to fully fund the 2nd Virginia Class submarine
- $922 million to restore Facility Sustainment, Modernization and Restoration funding
- $692 million for military medical research, including $246 million for cancer research and $125 million for Traumatic Brain Injury research.
Examples in Overseas Contingency Operations:
- $1.5 billion for the National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account
- $1.1 billion for depot maintenance shortfalls
- $1.3 billion for Army reset requirements
- $1.1 billion for the OCO Transfer Fund to provide flexibility in addressing unanticipated or emergency OCO cost
Defense Subcommittee Chairman Young believes that more can be done to repay the damage to military readiness already caused by sequestration if resources were not constrained.
However, if sequestration is allowed to continue in fiscal year 2014, the actual funds provided to the department are estimated to be $468 billion – more than $44 billion less. That would also be $16 billion below the sequestration level the department is trying to execute this fiscal year (2013). Readiness is already jeopardized; any further cuts would be devastating.
H. R. 2397 provides the department with the much needed resources required to modernize and maintain readiness at the levels needed for our military to preserve its standing as the most capable and superior armed forces in the world. In that regard, it is essential that the bill is passed as soon as possible.