U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) today voted for legislation to complete the FY2013 appropriations process and provide the Department of Defense with resources and greater congressional oversight to meet the nation's security interests.
Cochran, the ranking member on the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, on Wednesday voted for Senate approval of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2013 (HR.933). While the Senate bill provides the same level of funding as the House-passed measure, the Senate version goes further in setting government spending priorities in many areas, including national security. It is based on more recent congressional analysis than the significantly outdated alternative, which would have left many important decisions in the hands of the Obama administration.
"The Department of Defense has never operated under a full-year continuing resolution and such a prospect is unconscionable during a time of war. This measure will instead deliver to our military leaders, including commanders in the field, needed resources and greater flexibility to meet national security requirements," Cochran said.
"This legislation also gives agencies some certainty to close out the 2013 fiscal year so they can more efficiently serve taxpayers. It is my hope that we can turn our attention to the FY2014 budget process under regular order," He said.
Passed on a 73-26 vote, HR.933 does not affect the $85 billion in FY2013 spending reductions to defense and nondefense discretionary accounts (the "sequester") mandated by the Budget Control Act.
Cochran pointed out that HR.933 would help ensure a more effective allocation of funds to programs throughout the government, including those that are important to Mississippi. As an example, he cited funding to continue procurement for additional U.S. Navy and Coast Guard vessels and funding to support the NASA Space Launch System mission. In addition, the Senate on Wednesday accepted an amendment to reduce the impact of sequestration on U.S. Department of Agriculture programs dealing with meat and poultry inspection.
HR.933 in its current form would prevent a government shutdown upon the expiration of the current funding resolution on March 27, and would fund the federal government through Oct. 1, 2013. It is comprised of five individual appropriations bills: Defense; Agriculture, Rural Development and Food and Drug Administration; Commerce, Justice and Science; Homeland Security; and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs. Funding for the remainder of the federal government will be provided under a continuing resolution.
The measure will now be returned to the House of Representatives for further consideration.