BRAC Cleanup Funding Stuck on Downward Trajectory

BRAC Cleanup Funding Stuck on Downward Trajectory

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.

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