HASC Gears up for Authorization Markup even as Topline Spending Remains Uncertain

HASC Gears up for Authorization Markup even as Topline Spending Remains Uncertain

The House Armed Services Committee is slated to mark up the fiscal 2017 defense authorization bill in two weeks, but because the Republican conference has failed to coalesce around a budget resolution the committee still doesn’t know exactly how much money is available for defense programs next year.

While the annual policy bill does not actually allocate funding, the House Armed Services Committee tries to align its funding levels with the chamber’s budget resolution so the measure can serve as a guideline for defense appropriators, reported CQ Roll Call.

Up to $18 billion in available funding is in question as the budget resolution approved by the House Budget Committee provides an extra $18 billion in base defense spending beyond the Obama administration’s budget request. The resolution, however, still adheres to the FY 2017 spending levels agreed to in October’s two-year budget deal, limiting base spending on national security to $551 billion and providing $59 billion in DOD’s overseas contingency operations (OCO) account.

In contrast to the administration’s request, the House framework would shift $23 billion from the OCO account to the base defense budget for a total of $574 billion in base defense spending in FY 2017. The Pentagon’s request only proposed shifting $5 billion to the base budget.

If the House Armed Services Committee relies on the OCO account to augment the Pentagon’s base budget, it could lose the support of fiscal conservatives needed to advance the authorization bill to the floor, according to the story.

The House Armed Services subcommittees are scheduled to mark up their portions of the authorization bill from April 20-21, with the full committee taking up the legislation on April 27. The Readiness Subcommittee will mark up its section on April 21 at 9:30 a.m.

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