White House Opposes Defense Spending Bill over BRAC, Compensation Reform

The White House on Tuesday said it “strongly opposes” House passage of the fiscal 2015 defense spending bill over its failure to include a variety of cost-saving reforms, but fell short of issuing a veto threat.

“Without congressional support for meaningful compensation reforms and other cost-saving measures, force structure changes, and flexibility to manage weapon systems and infrastructure, there is an increased risk to the department’s ability to implement the president’s defense strategy, which will contribute to a military that will be less capable of responding effectively to future challenges,” according to the statement of administration policy issued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

The House is scheduled to take up the spending bill, H.R. 4870, starting today.

The statement said the administration “strongly objects” to the House Appropriations Committee’s decision to strip out $4.8 million in funding DOD included in its FY 2015 budget to prepare for the BRAC round in 2017 it requested. 

“The administration strongly urges the Congress to provide the BRAC authorization and funding as requested, which would allow DOD to right-size its infrastructure while providing important assistance to affected communities,” OMB said.

The White House also criticized the committee’s decision to reject proposals to slow the growth of basic pay and housing allowances, and slash subsidies for commissaries.

“The rejection of these proposals will likely require DOD to find over $27 billion in additional reductions to readiness, modernization and force structure for FY 2016 through FY 2019,” according to the statement. The reforms would have saved $2 billion next year and $31 billion through FY 2019.

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