Growth in OEA Budget due to Guam Projects
The budget for the Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) will rise $40.9 million to $91.8 million under the fiscal 2012 omnibus spending package approved last week, primarily because of three civilian projects intended to support the realignment of Marines to Guam.
The president’s request for the agency included funding for the purchase of school buses for public schools in Guam ($10.7 million); construction of a cultural repository to preserve artifacts unearthed during military construction ($12.7 million); and the construction of a mental health facility to handle population growth stemming from the buildup on Guam ($9.6 million).
Appropriators supported the $81.8 million request for OEA and added $10 million, bringing its allocation to $91.8 million. Because lawmakers did not authorize the $33.0 million for the Guam projects in the defense authorization bill, it is not clear if the agency will be able to disburse those funds. The conference report for the omnibus, H.R. 2055, does not state why appropriators added $10 million to the agency’s request, other than describing it as a “program increase.”
In its budget estimate from February OEA addresses its future funding needs. On the base closure side, the need for community economic adjustment assistance to overcome the impact of BRAC, complete property transfers and create new jobs will continue throughout the next several years. Similarly, mission growth due to BRAC and other initiatives will significantly affect communities and states into the future.