Funding to clean up installations closed during the first five BRAC rounds is on course to continue a steady decline under the fiscal 2017 recommendations from the administration and House appropriators.
On Tuesday, the draft fiscal 2017 military construction-veterans affairs spending bill released by the House Appropriations Committee called for funding for past base closure rounds — including cleanup and ongoing operations and maintenance — to fall to $230 million, down from $266 million in the current year. The Pentagon’s FY 2017 budget request had proposed an even deeper cut to $205 million.
Both proposals would continue a sharp drop in funding for past BRAC rounds since FY 2013, when Congress allocated $760 million for cleanup and other closure costs.
Overall, the milcon spending measure would provide $7.9 billion for military construction and family housing in FY 2017, representing a $305 million drop from current year funding but a $250 million increase over DOD’s request, according to a committee summary of the bill.
On Wednesday, the Military Construction-Veterans Affairs Subcommittee approved the legislation with little fanfare beyond protests from Democratic members about Republicans’ failure to adopt a budget resolution and spending allocations for each of the 12 appropriations titles.
Even while the prospects for the GOP to pass a budget resolution are uncertain, the House Appropriations Committee plans to continue advancing detailed spending bills. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Tuesday, though, told reporters he had no intention of bringing appropriations bills to the full House for a vote until there is a budget resolution that sets enforceable spending limits. “We need to do a budget,” Ryan said.
Despite the uncertainty, Subcommittee Chairman Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) said April 13 is the target date for the full committee to mark up the milcon spending bill, reported CQ Roll Call.