House passes DoL, HHS and Education funding

On July 24, the House voted 264-153 to pass H.R. 3293, legislation to fund the departments of Labor, Health & Human Services, and Education for the coming fiscal year.

Highlights of the measure include:

$210.2 million for state administration grants and federal administration, an increase of nearly $7 million.

$4.4 million for the National Veterans Employment and Training Services Institute, an increase of $2.5 million.

$37.3 million for homeless veterans programs, an increase of about $11 million.$9.6 million for the veterans workforce investment program, an increase of $2 million.

The Senate has not yet voted on its version of this legislation.

On July 30, the House voted 400-30 to approve H.R. 3326, the fiscal 2010 Department of Defense appropriations bill. The bill totals $636.6 billion, an increase of $4.4 billion over current-year funding and $3.8 billion below the president’s request.

Funding for specific program areas of interest to The American Legion include:

$128.3 billion to continue military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. President Obama has made it a priority to move all costs for these operations to the regular appropriations process and not through supplemental funding bills.

$29.9 billion for DoD health programs.

$7.2 billion for missile-defense programs.

$10.1 billion for the F-35 program, including $5.6 billion for procurement of 28 planes in fiscal 2010.

$3.8 billion for the purchase of one Virginia-class attack submarine in fiscal 2010, and advance procurement for another sub in fiscal 2011.

$3.6 billion for further development and procurement of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles for Iraq and Afghanistan;

$2.2 billion for further development and procurement of one additional DDG-51 Arleigh Burke destroyer.

$1.7 billion for procurement of 18 additional F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft.

$1.6 billion for further development and procurement of the DDG-1000 Zumwalt destroyer.

$1.5 billion for the destruction of chemical agents and munitions.

$1.2 billion for drug interdiction and counter-drug activities.

$614 million for upgrades and procurement of additional Stryker vehicles.

$500 million for purchases to address National Guard and reserve units’ equipment shortfalls.

The measure contains no funding for closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility for combatants captured during the global war on terrorism. Appropriators said that once a plan is in place to close the facility, funding will be requested.

Selective Service System funding for fiscal 2010 is contained in H.R. 3170, the fiscal 2010 appropriations measure for financial services and general government. That bill passed the House on July 16 by a vote of 219-208. The Senate version of this bill, S. 1432, passed the Senate Appropriations Committee on July 9 by a vote of 29-1. The House measure would fund Selective Service operations at $24.2 million, while the Senate version would appropriate $24.4 million for the agency’s operations.

Since 1973, the armed forces have relied on recruiting volunteers to fill military manpower requirements. However, the Selective Service System remains the primary vehicle by which personnel will be brought into the military if Congress and the president should authorize a return to the draft. The American Legion continues to support funding for the Selective Service System in case of national emergency.

The American Legion will continue to monitor the progress of these measures. The House has met its goal of passing all 12 of the appropriations bills by the end of July. Thus far, the Senate has passed three of the 12 fiscal 2010 funding measures. Fiscal year 2010 begins Oct. 1.