An amendment authored by Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01) prohibiting federal funds to propose, plan for, or execute an additional Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round passed the U.S. House of Representatives today as part of the Department of Defense (DOD) Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2013, H.R. 5856. Wittman introduced the amendment following its successful inclusion in the FY 2013 defense authorization legislation, which passed the House in May. Today, Wittman supported H.R. 5856, which directs spending levels for the Department of Defense funding military personnel, operations and maintenance, overseas deployment, and more.
"With a tough economy and skyrocketing federal debt and deficit, we must strive for a lean and efficient DOD, and continue to root out waste, fraud and abuse," Wittman said. "But we do not need another round of BRAC during this critical time of transition. BRAC rounds have proved costly and ineffective in providing any real-time savings and deficit reduction. BRAC has actually cost more than $36 billion since the last round in 2005, and taxpayers will not realize any savings until 2018 at the earliest. More BRAC rounds would cost billions of dollars and thousands of jobs, so this amendment prevents any utilization of resources in fiscal year 2013 for those purposes. I'm pleased the amendment has been passed by the House and am hopeful the Senate will include this measure in their version, and send it to the President's desk."
According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), in a study that was concluded in March 2012, DOD's fiscal year 2012 budget submission to Congress on BRAC 2005 shows that costs to implement the BRAC recommendations grew from $21 billion originally estimated by the BRAC Commission in 2005 dollars to about $35.1 billion in current dollars, an increase of about $14.1 billion, or 67 percent. In constant 2005 dollars, costs increased to $32.2 billion, an increase of 53 percent. Implementation of the 2005 BRAC round was officially completed on September 15, 2011. Early in 2012, the Obama Administration announced its intention to request two new rounds of military base closures through BRAC. BRAC rounds must be authorized by Congress. In February, Wittman joined in a bipartisan letter to the President expressing concerns with additional BRAC rounds.
Wittman continued, "This legislation as passed by the House today provides for a sound Department of Defense budget, meeting the needs of our troops, and the infrastructure that supports them."
Under the legislation, military personnel would receive a 1.7 percent pay increase beginning on January 1, 2013. In addition the bill would provide $102.5 billion for military equipment procurement and $175.16 billion for DoD operations and maintenance. H.R. 5856 would also include provisions to prohibit funding for transfers of Guantanamo detainees to the U.S. or its territories, prohibits funding to modify any facility in the U.S. to house detainees, and places conditions on the release of detainees to other countries.