House Appropriators Adopt War Funds Budget Maneuver

first_imgThe fiscal 2017 defense spending bill unveiled this week by the House Appropriations Committee follows the House Armed Services Committee’s strategy of shifting funds from DOD’s overseas contingency operations (OCO) account to boost the department’s base budget, setting up a possible budget fight with Democratic lawmakers and the White House.The spending measure, approved by the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Wednesday, would dedicate $15.7 billion from the OCO account to unmet needs within the base Pentagon budget in an effort to restore readiness shortfalls, according to a committee summary. “These funds are targeted to requirements identified by the services — readiness efforts, infrastructure, and equipment recapitalization and modernization, such as additional flying and steaming hours, training time, and facilities and aircraft repairs,” according to the summary.“As a result of this funding — as well as responsible reductions made to the request — the bill is able to support higher troop levels, additional training ($9.4 billion), facilities repairs and improvements ($1.6 billion), equipment repairs and maintenance ($753 million), and equipment modernization and replacement ($9.6 billion),” it states.In the FY 2017 defense authorization bill it approved in April, the House Armed Services Committee called for shifting $18 billion from DOD’s war fund account to its base budget. Since then, Defense Secretary Ash Carter has criticized the maneuver for shortchanging overseas operations as it would force the next administration to request supplemental war funding before it runs out at the end of April.After the committee released its draft bill on Tuesday, Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), the ranking member on House Appropriations, made her opposition clear.“The majority’s failure to provide a full year of funding for thousands of men and women serving in dangerous places around the world is astoundingly irresponsible,” Lowey said in a statement. “By shifting funding away from overseas contingency operations, the majority would create a cliff just a few months into 2017, forcing the new president to request supplemental funds to pay our troops within weeks after taking office,” she said, reported CQ Roll Call.The measure rejects troop reductions included in the department’s budget request, and would support 28,000 more active personnel and 25,000 more reservists than the administration requested.The text of the spending bill is available on the committee website. Dan Cohen AUTHORlast_img

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