Under Veto Threat, House Allocates More Money to Pentagon
The House approved a $606 billion defense appropriations bill last night 326-90 that included $518 billion in discretionary spending for the Department of Defense, an increase of $2 billion over President Obama's request for FY 2013.
It also supplies $87.7 billion in funding to support operations and troops related to the war on terror. It allocates $20 million for suicide prevention outreach programs for military personnel and gives troops a 1.7 percent pay raise.
“Even though I am a fiscal conservative and fighting in Congress to reduce our nation's debt and get our fiscal house in order, we cannot balance the budget on the backs of our men and women in uniform," said Rep. Francisco "Quico" Canseco (R-Texas). "However, we must also ensure that defense spending is respectful of taxpayers by working to eliminate the waste, fraud, and abuse found in government spending – including defense."
The bill includes reductions in excess of $4 billion from carryover funding and cuts in areas unrelated to troop safety.
“In conjunction with the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which the House passed back in May, our troops in harm’s way have the full authorization and monetary support to perform their missions and return home safely," said Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.). "My experiences in the Vietnam War remind me constantly how vital it is that Congress protects and provides for our troops with the funding that they need."
The White House issued a veto threat on the bill last month.
"Passing H.R. 5856 at its current funding level would mean that when the Congress constructs other appropriations bills, it would necessitate significant and harmful cuts to critical national priorities such as education, research and development, job training, and health care," said the Office of Management and Budget. "...The Administration also strongly objects to the inclusion of ideological and political provisions that are beyond the scope of funding legislation."