HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS for DEFENSE DEPARTMENT & WAR SPENDING
Today the House completed consideration of the Fiscal Year 2012 Defense Appropriations Act, passing it by a vote of 336 to 87. The overall bill provides about $530 billion for the Department of Defense base budget- a $17 billion increase over this year. This does not include war spending or spending on nuclear weapons. Additionally, $119 billion is provided for war spending.
At the same time that we spend more money at the Pentagon, other programs are subject to cuts and caps. Lawmakers are in the midst of fevered negotiations to find a way to cut deficit spending and reduce the debt. As Barney Frank (D-MA) said, “The military budget is not on the table. The military is at the table, and it is eating everybody else's lunch.”
Below are some highlighted amendments related to military spending cuts, the war in Afghanistan, and Libya.
Highlighted Amendments to Fiscal Year 2012 Defense Appropriations Bill
Military Spending Cuts (to Defense Department’s Base Budget):
Freeze DOD at This Year’s Level - Offered by Mulvaney (R-SC): Would have cut the Defense base budget by $17 billion, freezing the budget at the Fiscal Year 2011 level.
Defeated 135-290 (click here to see how your Rep. voted)
Scale Back Increase to DOD Budget - Offered by Frank (D-MA)-Campbell (R-CA)-Holt (D-NJ)-Jones (R-NC)-Moore (D-WI)-Paul (R-TX): Would have scaled back the planned FY 2012 increase in the Defense base budget of $$17.3 billion by $8.5 billion (approximately one half). The amendment stipulated that none of the reduction in expenditures would come from payroll for military personnel, Department of Defense health programs and emergency war spending. Given the scale of our nation’s fiscal problems, the proposed $17 billion increase in non-war spending in the reported bill shows an insufficient commitment to the necessity of cutting waste and unnecessary spending. THANK YOU to those who made calls yesterday supporting this modest amendment. Even though it failed we were pleased to see a fairly close vote, indicating that there are rising concerns about the Pentagon budget.
New nuclear bomber - Welch (D-VT)-Paul (R-TX)-Woolsey (D-CA) offered: Amendment would have eliminated $297 million in funding for a new nuclear weapons bomber.
B-1 bomber - Offered by Neugebauer (R-TX): Bars retirement of any B-1 bombers; six are slated to be retired so we need to maintain all of the bombers we have and build more. Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA) said that these bombers are important to preserve “the ability to penetrate China or the Soviet Union or wherever we might have to penetrate at some point.” Apparently the news that the Soviet Union no longer exists hasn’t penetrated Congress.
Approved by voice vote
Reducing Troops in Europe - Offered by Polis (D-CO) – To take 50,000 troops out of Europe and save $800 million.
Pentagon bands - Offered by McCollum (D-MN): To cut funds for Pentagon bands by $124.8 million. Kudos to Rep. Betty McCollum for her perseverance on this issue – she was finally able to “drum up” enough support for this common sense cut. Schools across the country are cutting music programs, Maybe we could scale back military bands just a bit…
Pentagon sponsorship of NASCAR races - Offered by McCollum (D-MN): Would have limited spending on Motor Sports sponsorships to $20 million. Well, so much for common sense after all. Thanks to Rep. McCollum for trying.
Congress continues to flirt with a shifting line in the sand on Libya. There are clearly many concerns and efforts to limit the U.S. role, but so far Congress has not been willing to pull the plug to stop all funding for Libya.
Limiting Activities in Libya - Offered by Cole (R-OK): “None of the funds made available by this Act may be used by the Department of Defense to furnish military equipment, military training or advice, or other support for military activities, to any group or individual, not part of a country's armed forces, for the purpose of assisting that group or individual in carrying out military activities in or against Libya.”
Libya and War Powers - Offered by Sherman (D-CA): Bars spending that violates the War Powers Act, which, according to Sherman, would limit the Administration from spending on any military activities not currently underway. (On June 13, the House voted 248-163 for a similar Sherman (D-CA) amendment to the Military Construction appropriations bill.)
Limit Spending - Gohmert (R-TX): Would have limited spending on Libya operations with no funds made available by this Act may be obligated, expended, or used in any manner to support military operations, including NATO or United Nations operations in Libya or in Libya's airspace.
Stop Funding: Offered by Amash (R-MI)-Kucinich (D-OH):
“None of the funds made available by this Act may be used for the continued deployment of United States Armed Forces participating in North Atlantic Treaty Organization Operation Unified Protector.”
Stop Funding- Offered by Kucinich (D-OH): Amendment would ban funds for Libya unless there is a declaration of war.
Defeated 169-251 (Vote tally pending – Check http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2011/roll530.xml)
End the War – Cut $33 Billion - Offered by Lee (D-CA)-Nadler (R-NY)-Woolsey (D-CA)-Olver (D-MA)- Stark (D-CA)- JacksonD-CA)-Honda (D-CA); Conyers (D-MI);-Grijalva (D-AZ)-Paul (R-TX);-Amash (R-MI): Would have cut $33 billion, to end the funding for combat operations in Afghanistan but provide funds to bring our troops home in a safe and orderly manner.
Drawdown to 25,000 in 18 Months - Offered by Garamendi (D-CA): Would have cut $20.9 billion to wind down the war in a responsible way over the next 18 months so that at the end of the 18 months-- December 31, 2012-- there'd be no more than 25,000 troops in Afghanistan.
Operations Transfer Fund (Slush Fund) Cut - Offered by Lee (D-CA)-Jones (R-NC): Would have cut the $5 billion of the Overseas Contingency Operations Transfer Fund
Afghanistan Security Forces Fund - Offered by Cohen (D-TN): Would have cut $200 million for Afghanistan security forces.
Afghanistan Security Forces Fund - Offered by Cohen (D-TN): Would have cut $4 billion for Afghanistan security forces
Afghanistan Infrastructure Fund - Offered by Cicilline (D-RI): Would have cut $475 million from the Afghanistan Infrastructure Fund.
Cut Emergency Response Program - Offered by Welch (D-VT): Would have barred spending of more than $200 million for the Commander's Emergency Response Program.
To end on a hopeful note …
Offered by Fortenberry (R-NE): Bars spending on military training for child soldiers in six countries.
Approved by voice vote
Thanks to John Isaacs from Council for the Livable World, Stephen Miles from Win Without War and Paul Kawika Martin from Peace Action for their help in tracking and summarizing key amendments. WAND DC Intern Kathleen Kang also helped with research for this summary.