DOD Budget Remains Intact (Mostly), But Still No Closer to 2011 Funding Bill
With one glaring exception, DOD programs remained insulated from the hundreds of amendments offered on the House floor to deepen the spending cuts included in the House plan to fund the federal government for the duration of the current fiscal year. Late Friday night, the House rejected an amendment to the fiscal 2011 funding bill that would have pared funding for the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security by 3.5 percent, excluding veterans’ programs. In a surprise vote earlier in the week, however, the chamber voted to remove $450 million in funding for the alternative engine program for the Joint Strike Fighter.
At press time, the House was expected to take a final vote on the 2011 spending legislation (H.R. 1) by Saturday. Overall, the measure would reduce federal spending by at least $61 billion for the remainder of the year compared to FY 2010. DOD spending, however, would rise by $8 billion, with funding for military construction and veterans affairs suffering a $2.6 billion cut compared to FY 2010.
The Senate meanwhile is expected to move a FY 2011 spending bill freezing discretionary spending at 2010 levels when it returns from the President’s Day recess at the end of the month, setting up a showdown with the House. The prospects for a government shutdown likely increased after House Speaker John Boehner Thursday said he would not support a short-term stopgap funding bill unless it included at least some spending cuts. The continuing resolution funding the government expires March 4.