House Working Late on Defense

The House Appropriations Committee approved the defense spending bill for the coming fiscal year today.

The panel adopted a number of amendments to the $607.7 billion draft measure for fiscal 2013, including:

Representative Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) – The amendment adds report language to clarify that the Air Force should refrain from reducing any Air National Guard or Air Force Reserve Units, pending the enactment of final authorization and appropriations legislation by Congress.

Representative Jeff Flake (R-AZ) – The amendment requires that OCO funding be used only for programs, projects, or activities that are categorized as Overseas Contingency Operations in the fiscal year 2013 President’s budget request and justifications.

Representatives Jack Kingston (R-GA), Betty McCollum (D-MN) – The amendment prohibits funding for sponsorships of professional or semi-professional sports or sporting events.

Representative Robert Aderholt (R-AL) – The amendment prohibits funding for container handling equipment until GAO provides a report on the Army’s acquisition plan, requirements, and inventory.

The measure provides $88.5 billion for war operations. It also includes $519.2 billion for other defense programs under the committee's jurisdiction--$3.1 billion more than the president sought and $1.1 billion more than the fiscal 2012 enacted level.

The bill is expected to come to the House floor some time this summer.

Along with the work that the House Appropriations Committee has done today, the National Defense Authorization Act is on the House floor today. Late last night, the Rules Committee made 142 amendments in order for the authorization floor debate. The House has been working through debate on these amendments since early afternoon. So far one set of votes has taken place and included the passage of two Guard related amendments:

Representatives Tom Petri (R-WI), Ron Kind (D-WI) - Would compensate certain military personnel who were prevented from using extra leave time, which was earned through multiple or extended deployments overseas as part of the Post-Deployment/Mobilization Respite Absence program, due to a government error.

Represenatives Steve Israel (D-NY), Peter King (R-NY) - Would authorize a pilot program on enhancements of Department of Defense efforts on mental health in the National Guard and Reserves through public-private partnerships.

Amendment debate is expected to go to midnight or beyond with votes rolling in to Friday. Don't worry about staying up late to watch the debate though, we will provide a full anaysis after final passage of the bill. Good night.


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