CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
The House is expected to consider H.R. 2647 under a structured rule. H.R. 2647 was introduced on June 2, 2009, by Rep. Ike Skelton (D-MO). The House Armed Services Committee ordered the bill to be reported, as amended, on June 16, 2009.
H.R. 2647 sets a comprehensive annual defense policy and authorizes budget authority for the Department of Defense (DoD) for Fiscal Year 2010. The legislation authorizes $550.4 billion for standard operations of the DoD (and $2.5 billion for Department of Energy national security programs), as well as $130 billion for funding ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The funding level in this bill is slightly more than the President's request and 4 percent over the current level. However, due to certain programs once funded in the supplemental now being included in the base budget, this legislation represents real growth of less than two percent. A summary of the major provisions in H.R. 2647 is below:
Iraq Policy: The bill requires the Secretary of Defense to report on the redeployment of U.S. troops out of Iraq, as well as whether military equipment in Iraq and Afghanistan. H.R. 2647 prohibits the use of funds to establish permanent bases in Iraq.
Troop Levels: H.R. 2647 authorizes the President's request for increased troop levels. Specifically, the legislation authorizes 15,000 additional Army troops, 8,000 more Marines, 14,650 more Air Force personnel, and 2,477 Navy sailors.
Military Pay Raise: The legislation provides an average 3.4 percent pay increase for military personnel in Fiscal Year 2010. This is 0.5 percent more than the President's request of 2.9 percent.
Afghanistan and Pakistan: The bill provides $7.3 billion to train and equip the Afghan national security forces while authorizing the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Fund to aid the capabilities of Pakistan's security forces. Additionally, H.R. 2647 would establish a registration and monitoring system for all defense articles provided to the governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
National Guard and Reserves: The legislation authorizes $6.9 billion for new equipment for National Guard and reserve units; an increase of $600 million over the President's request.
Additionally, the bill would expand TRICARE (military health insurance) coverage to reserve component members and their families for 180 days prior to mobilization. Currently, reserve members are eligible 90 days before mobilization.
Special Operations: The bill provides nearly $9 billion for Special Operations forces-an increase of $308 million to address the command's unfunded requirements. These funds will support the Special Operation Command's counterterrorism mission.
Chemical and Biological Defense: H.R. 2647 authorizes the President's request of $1.6 billion for Chemical and Biological Defense programs.
Force Protection Equipment: H.R. 2647 provides $5.5 billion for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, $1.5 billion for up-armored Humvees, $1.3 billion to upgrade Abrams tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles, and $1.4 billion for improvised explosive device (IED) jammers.
Aircraft: The bill provides $369 million for the advance procurement of 12 additional F-22 fighters. H.R. 2647 also authorizes $6 billion for 28 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters and $1.2 billion for nine F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets, including $108 million in advance procurement for additional Super Hornets to support a multiyear procurement.
Ships: The legislation provides $1.4 billion for the Littoral Combat Ship, $1.1 billion for the LPD-17 San Antonio-class amphibious ship, $1.1 billion for the DDG-1000, the Navy's next-generation surface combat ship, and $2.3 billion for the restart of the DDG-51 destroyer program.
Future Combat System: H.R. 2647 authorizes $2.5 billion for the Future Combat System-the Army's next generation of combat vehicles and weapons systems.
Quality of Life Improvements: H.R. 2647 includes $450 million for Army barrack improvements and $762 million for base facilities and infrastructure maintenance.
H.R. 2647 would also provide $2 billion for military family housing programs and require DoD to review the standards used to calculate monthly rates for housing allowances to determine if the current standards are sufficient.
The bill would also establish a monthly compensation allowance for catastrophically injured service members to receive assistance from a non-medical attendant. Finally, the bill establishes a DoD nursing school to help alleviate nursing shortages in the military.
Military Construction: The legislation provides $13.6 billion for service-wide military construction projects for Fiscal Year 2010.
Defense Environmental Cleanup: H.R. 2647 would provide about $5 billion for environmental defense cleanup projects.
Base Closures: The bill provides $7.1 billion for the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) activities.
Cybersecurity: H.R. 2647 would establish a process for addressing hardware or software vulnerabilities to defense information technology systems. The bill also would require DoD to establish a joint program office within Acquisition, Technology and Logistics to better coordinate the acquisition of cyber capabilities across the Department.
The House Armed Services Committee approved H.R. 2647 on June 16 by a vote of 61-0. The bill contains 651 earmarks, which are listed in the Committee Report.
According to Republican Members of the Committee, "We support H.R. 2647 and feel that it reflects our committee's strong and continued support for the brave men and women of the United States armed forces. In many ways, this bill is a good bill...we also recognize this bill is not a perfect bill." Members may have the following concerns with H.R. 2647:
Missile Defense: The base bill includes a $1.2 billion funding cut for missile defense. At markup, Democrats defeated an amendment which would have restored that funding. Several other amendments to restore funding for related missile defense components were rejected. On the day of markup, President Obama noted that a nuclear-armed North Korea would be a "grave threat" to the world. Iran has also demonstrated a capability and intent to pursue long-range ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs earlier this year.
Military Personnel: At Committee markup, the Majority rejected a Republican amendment to fund payments to military surviving spouses by repealing the so-called "widow's tax", provide full concurrent receipt of retirement pay and disability benefits for all military retirees, and allow access to TRICARE (military health plan) for National Guard and Reserve members who receive early retirement. The amendment was deficit-neutral.
Guantanamo: At Committee markup, Democrats defeated a GOP amendment that would have prohibited the transfer or release of Guantanamo Bay detainees into the U.S. The Majority also voted down an amendment that would have required approval of State governors and legislatures before transferring any detainees into their States. Instead, the bill includes weaker language which allows the release or transfer of detainees if the President submits a plan to Congress and consults with State officials.
Freedom of Information Act Photos: The Majority denied consideration of a Republican amendment that would have prohibited the release of photos showing detainee abuse, because the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform would not waive jurisdiction over the issue. The President and military commanders on the ground have determined that releasing such photos would put the safety of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan at greater risk.
Davis-Bacon Expansion in Guam: H.R. 2647 specifies that wage rates paid for military construction projects carried out on Guam may not be less than those paid for similar projects done in Hawaii, where the prevailing wage is significantly higher than on Guam. This provision would increase wage rates on Guam by 153 percent. According to CBO, this provision alone will cost $2.1 billion in Fiscal Year 2010 and $10.2 billion over ten years.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that H.R. 2647 provides $681 billion for Fiscal Year 2010, subject to appropriations.