House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Rep. Norm Dicks made the following comments after release of the FY2013 Defense bill text:
"Today the Majority has unveiled the Defense Appropriations bill, which continues the work of funding operations at the Department of Defense. As always, it's been an honor to work with my good friend, colleague and Chairman of the Subcommittee, Bill Young. I'm happy to report that the bill provides adequate funds to support our troops both at home and when deployed. It also provides the funding necessary to maintain force structure, including the National Guard and reserve, and provides for needed investments in research and development, and equipment acquisition.
"Overall the Majority's approach to the defense budget has been reasonable. I only wish that the same approach would be taken with the non-defense portion of the discretionary budget. I was very disappointed that House Republicans walked away from the bipartisan agreement reached to establish a discretionary spending cap of $1.047 trillion for fiscal year 2013 and instead opted to create a new number, -$19 billion below what we agreed to. This puts House Republicans at odds with the President, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate, and House Democrats who have all maintained that we must stick to the Budget Control Act allocation. The lower allocation, if it stays in effect, will slow economic growth and impede job creation.
"In this year's first full committee markup, Republicans approved subcommittee allocations based on the overall Ryan budget allocation which confirm that Republican leadership intends to reserve the worst cuts for domestic discretionary bills that they have postponed until later in the appropriations process.
"I believe that the position of House Republicans is unsustainable and that by the end of the process we will be back to the agreed upon allocation of $1.047 trillion with their breach of trust having only served to slow the process down.
"Despite this setback, it's important that the Appropriations Committee maintains its reputation as the Committee that gets its work done. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'll do whatever I can to assist in the procedure of this year's Appropriations bills and I look forward to our continued work on the Defense bill."
Below is a brief summary of funding levels and other key provisions in the Defense Appropriations bill:
Total Allocation: $519.2 billion | $3.1 billion above the President's FY2013 request | $1.1 billion above the FY2012 enacted level.
Ongoing Military Operations in Afghanistan: The bill provides $88.5 billion total, equal to the President's request and -$26.6 billion below the FY2012 enacted. Most of these funds, $71.9 billion, are for military pay and support operations for troops in the field. Language is maintained in this portion of the bill that prohibits torture and construction of permanent bases in Afghanistan or Iraq. Also of note:
Training Afghanistan Security Forces: The bill provides $5 billion, -$772 million below the President's request and -$6.2 billion below the FY2012 enacted, to train Afghan forces in preparation for security hand-over.
Military Pay: The bill provides $128.5 billion, $32.8 million above the President's request and -$2.6 billion below the FY2012 enacted level, to force strength reductions. The bill includes a 1.7% pay raise for our troops, as well as increases of 4.2% for housing allowance and 3.4% for subsistence.
Defense Health Program: The bill provides $32.9 billion, $333.5 million above the President's request and $380 million above the FY2012 enacted level. Also of note:
Mental Health: The bill includes $125 million above the President's request to continue the Committee's longstanding efforts to improve treatment and research of traumatic brain injury and psychological health conditions including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The bill also includes $20 million above the President's request for suicide prevention programs.
Cancer Research: The bill includes $246 million above the President's request for several peer-reviewed research efforts, including breast cancer, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer and lung cancer research.
Procurement: The bill provides $102.5 billion, $875 million above the President's request and -$2.1 billion below the FY2012 enacted level.
Research and Development: The bill provides $70 billion, $576 million above the request and -$2.4 billion below the FY2012 enacted level.