The House of Representatives today passed H.R. 933, legislation that provides funding to the Armed Forces while continuing government operations until the end of the fiscal year. This "continuing resolution" includes a full-year Defense Appropriations measure as well as a full-year Military Construction-Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill. H.R. 933 authorizes nearly $140 million in spending at Fort Drum for previously authorized projects including an Aircraft Maintenance Hangar, a data terminal complex and a soldier specialty care clinic. Congressman Bill Owens supported the measure and offered the following statement:
"This continuing resolution provides critical support for training installations like Fort Drum and the military at large while averting another political showdown that could lead to a government shutdown, and so I voted in favor of the bill," said Owens. Even in times of tight budgets, we have a commitment to see that the men and women serving in theater are fully supported and that training operations at home are preserved for the sake of future readiness."
H.R. 933 provides an additional $10.4 billion more than is currently enacted for military Operations and Maintenance accounts and $210 million in additional funding for military construction and the Department of Veterans Affairs. The bill also appropriates funding for the following projects at Fort Drum:
$95 million for an aircraft hangar to support the installation's combat aviation brigade. The U.S. Army recently reported that the brigade cannot function properly without a maintenance hangar of its own.
$17.3 million for a soldier specialty care clinic, operated through the TRICARE Management Activity.
$25.9 million for data terminal complex at Drum for the Missile Defense Agency.
The continuing resolution does not address the sequester, instead keeping most budget accounts funded as prescribed by sequestration.
"While I support this bipartisan legislation's commitment to the Armed Forces, I am dismayed that this agreement takes no steps to broadly address sequestration," Owens said. "Congress has real work ahead to responsibly cut federal spending and I remain hopeful the Senate will take additional steps to strike a bipartisan compromise on sequestration when they consider this legislation in the days ahead."
Congressman Owens has put forward his own ideas for how to address sequestration in the past, including implementing General Accountability Office recommendations to save as much as $100 billion in yearly spending and allowing Medicare to negotiate their drug prices like the VA does today.