12 May 2016 Legislative News Update

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

weekly electronic newsletter, and is published 
every Thursday when Congress is in session.





Details of the draft House defense spending bill for fiscal 2017 were released this week by the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. 

Following the lead of the House Armed Services Committee, the subcommittee leaders would take money from the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account to pay for items in the base budget.  The $517.1 billion bill is $3 billion above the current level and $587 million below the administration’s budget request. 

The OCO account would receive $58.6 billion.  Included in this is $43 billion to support the requirements of overseas operations through the end of April 2017

A summary released by the subcommittee provides details of the measure:

Military End Strength  The legislation includes $132.6 billion to provide funding for an additional 5,000 troops for the Active Army, 8,000 troops for the Army National Guard, and 7,000 troops for the Army Reserve.  

Pay The bill fully funds the authorized 2.1 percent pay raise for military personnel.

Defense Health Care The bill contains $34 billion for base requirements – $1.7 billion above the fiscal 2016 enacted level and $559 million above the request – for the Defense Health Program to provide care for troops, military families, and retirees.

Operation and Maintenance  Included in the legislation is $209.2 for operations and maintenance to support key readiness programs to prepare troops for combat and peacetime missions, including flight time and battle training, equipment and facility maintenance, and base operations.

Within this amount, the bill includes an additional $6.4 billion above the administration’s request to fill readiness shortfalls, $1.6 billion to invest in facility sustainment, restoration, and modernization programs, and $753 million for additional depot maintenance.  

Research and Development The bill contains $70.8 billion for research, development, testing, and evaluation of new defense technologies.

Equipment Procurement  The legislation provides a total of $120.8 billion for equipment and upgrades.  Funding for base requirements is $9.6 billion above the request and $644 million above fiscal year 2016.  These funds support military readiness by providing the necessary platforms, weapons, and other equipment the military needs to train, maintain the force, and conduct successful operations.

The Army would receive $1.2 billion for 72 UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters; $881 million for 52 remanufactured AH-64 helicopters; $374 million for 10 new aircraft; $689 million for 27 CH-47 Chinook helicopters; and $440 million for 123 Stryker Double V-Hull upgrades. 

Additionally, to maintain four Apache battalions in the Army National Guard, the bill provides $374 million for 10 new Apaches and $46 million to support the annual operating costs of the four battalions.  Also included is $131 million for 20 Lakotas for increased flight training requirements, and $242 million for an additional 36 Blackhawks to accelerate modernization of the fleet.  The bill also provides funds to maintain a Combat Aviation Brigade in Korea.

The process:  The full Appropriations Committee will now consider the measure.  Later, it will be sent to the House floor for a vote.