Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 5856, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, which provides funding for our critical national security programs, military operations, and the health and safety of our troops. On Wednesday, the House passed H.R. 5872, the Sequestration Transparency Act, which requires the president to provide a detailed preview of the across-the-board defense and discretionary spending cuts.
Following passage of H.R. 5856 and H.R. 5872, U.S. Congressman Bill Flores (R-Texas) issued the following statement:
"Our Federal government's primary responsibility, under the Constitution, is to provide for the common defense for the security of all Americans. Today, the House voted to ensure we have the critical funding for a strong national defense and that our troops receive the resources and compensation that they deserve. Congress must continue to maintain a strong military, and to support those individuals who selflessly serve our country to protect our freedoms and liberties.
"On a more ominous note, the forthcoming Defense Sequester will force America to cut approximately $50 billion from defense funding beginning January 2013. Defense manufacturers and suppliers are beginning to make plans to compensate for the looming cuts, which could ultimately result in layoffs and closures. Some economists have estimated that between 1.5 to 2 million Americans will likely lose their jobs as a result of the Defense Sequester. The Senate and the president have yet to act on the House-passed Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act: a bill that would responsibly replace the arbitrary cuts to defense with common sense reforms. As this inaction continues, we believe that the president should provide a clear picture of what these cuts will mean for our military and our economy.
"These bills, if passed by the Senate and signed by the president, will help keep America secure and prevent the loss of American jobs."
Congressman Flores was successful in adding an amendment to H.R. 5846, which prevents funds from being used to enforce Section 526 of the Energy Independence and Security Act. Section 526 prevents federal agencies from securing fuel from non-conventional sources such as coal-to-liquids, oil shale and oil sands. This amendment ensures that the military and federal agencies have access to more stable, domestic and cheaper fuel resources. This same amendment was successfully added by Flores to five additional appropriations bills that have been passed by the House this year.
H.R. 5856 provides a total of $519.2 billion in discretionary spending for the Department of Defense in fiscal year 2013. Among its provisions, the bill will provide our military personal with a 1.7% pay raise and $35.8 billion for military health and family programs, including funding for traumatic brain injury research and suicide prevention outreach programs.