Supplemental Defense Bill Cleared for House Action

Friday, May 17, 2002
The House Appropriations Committee moved forward with the Fiscal Year (FY) 2002 supplemental defense appropriations bill yesterday afternoon, reporting a $29.7 billion package out of committee by voice vote and sending it to the House floor for a possible vote next week. Although the committee worked its way through controversial amendments to produce a bill that would be acceptable to the president, conservatives in the House remain upset that that the supplemental appropriates more funding than President Bush's initial request of $27.1 billion. GOP Budget hawks plan to press leadership on this issue as the rule for floor consideration is developed. Although the committee has yet to release specific details on the legislation, a summary of the bill obtained by the National Ship Repair Coalition (NSRC) indicates that it funds the president’s request of $14 billion for the Department of Defense (DOD). This total includes $7.2 billion for ongoing military operational costs, $4.3 billion for personnel costs, and $1.6 billion for the continuation of intelligence and other classified activities. The FY 2002 supplemental bill also provides DOD with $1.77 billion over the President’s request, most of which goes to unfunded costs resulting from Operation Enduring Freedom. These items include $790 million for unfunded force mobilization costs and $621 million for other unfunded FY02 operational costs such as training, spare parts, and equipment maintenance. “Our military men and women need sufficient resources and effective equipment to persevere in the war on terror, and the quick passage of the supplemental is essential to address these needs. But the bill will do much more than just bolster our Armed Forces,” said NSRC President Christopher Long. “A great infusion of funds is necessary to address the potential loss of vital capacity at our nation’s private sector shipyards. The chronic underfunding of repair work and the economic downtown have led to the loss of many good-paying jobs, and the supplemental will inject new life into the communities that support our fighting men and women.” House Speaker Dennis Hastert has indicated that a vote on the FY 2002 emergency supplemental appropriations bill could come as early as next Wednesday or Thursday, and the Senate will take up the bill after it has passed the full House. Once the Senate has passed its version of the legislation, negotiators from both the House and Senate will meet to iron out the differences between the two versions before sending the supplemental to President Bush for final approval.

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