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Senate Passes Obama 2009 Supplemental Budget May 27, 2009

Posted by Stephen Abott in Analysis.
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Last week, the Senate passed its version of the second FY2009 war supplemental budget. Overall, it hedges more closely to the President’s request than the bill that passed the House last week. The Senate bill provided $91.3 billion, including $73 billion for the DOD and $7.6 billion for the State Department and foreign affairs. The president requested $83.4 billion, including $75.5 for the DOD and $7.1 billion for the State Department and foreign affairs. The administration requested an additional $1.5 billion for emergency pandemic flu funding after the request went to Congress. Read below for highlights of the major differences between the Obama request and the Senate and House bills.

P.L. 480 Food Aid: The House increased Obama’s P.L 480 request by $200 million, arguing that “the global financial crisis and world-wide recession are worsening food emergencies…reducing the world’s ability to respond.” The increased funding is meant to further American capacity to meet unanticipated food aid emergencies. The Senate bill more than doubled the president’s funding, in order to allow America to “meet its historical share of food aid contributions.”

Peacekeeping Operations (PKO): The House appropriated $30 million more than the president’s request to support expanded African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) operations and raises their standards to those of the United Nations. The Senate more than tripled the president’s PKO funding, the majority of which is also to support AMISOM operations in Somalia.

Foreign Military Financing Program (FMF): The House increased FMF funding over the President’s request ($100 million) to $1.3 billion.  The additional funding would fund military assistance to Jordan, Egypt, and Israel for the remainder of FY 2009 and throughout FY 2010.   The Senate made no major changes to the President’s request.

Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle Fund (MRAP): The President requested funds for MRAP vehicles and to buy 1,000 MRAP-All Terrain Vehicles [M-ATV]. The House increased this funding to buy 800 additional M-ATVs above the request. The Senate also appropriated additional monies for M-ATV procurement.

Guantanamo Bay (IFF): The President requested $80 million to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.  The Senate, after contentious debate, decided not to fund this request and insisted the president present Congress with a more detailed plan on how to deal with the transfer of prisoners and the closer of the detention facility. The House also stripped money for Guantanamo closure.

Global Health and Child Survival (GHCS): While the president requested no funding for GHCS, the House appropriated $200 million to track, contain, and slow the spread of H1N1 in developing countries, along with $100 million to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The Senate only used GHCS to fund the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.

Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA): While increasing funding over the president’s request, the House included language limiting the funding available to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) activates in the West Bank and Gaza. The Senate funded MRA at the House’s level.

Diplomatic and Consular Programs (D&CP): The House added more than $400 million to Obama’s request to support diplomatic and consular activities in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. The increase consisted of funding for additional operating expenses and security upgrades .The Senate provided $51 million in additional funding, primarily for operating expenses in Afghanistan. These additions reflect the Congress’ new attention to diplomatic efforts in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq.

Contributions for International Peacekeeping Activities (CIPA): The House concurred on the president’s total funding level, but did not include the transfer language requested by the administration for the support of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), but funded this separately in the PKO account. The Senate reflected the House’s language while also decreasing CIPA by $116 million.

Aircraft Procurement, Air Force: The House more than doubled the president’s request for aircraft procurement funding, due largely to the acquisition of eight C-17A transport aircraft and eleven C-130s. The Senate appropriated less than the administration requested, leaving out F-22 production-line shut-down costs (likely to keep the option to continue F-22 production) and C-17A, C-130, and Global Hawk UAV modifications. The House additions highlight continued congressional efforts to increase transport aircraft procurement, despite the DOD’s attempts to focus on other procurement goals.

Operations and Maintenance (O&M), Army Reserve: The House cut nearly $14 million in tuition assistance from Army Reserve funding. It is unclear why this modification was made, but they may reflect a congressional attempt to push some funds into the base budget.

Military Construction Defense-Wide: The Senate cut the administration’s request to fund the construction of a NSA data center. The $1.8 billion project was added without authorization and “was proposed only after the Office of Management and Budget recently rejected the original leased facility plan,” and was not fully “scoped”. The Senate suggested that the administration fund this program in the base defense budget. The House concurred on the President’s funding level. Senators also appropriated an un-requested $1.1 billion for military hospital construction across DOD, citing a backlog in needed modernization. While normally inserted into base DOD funding, the addition of hospital construction in the supplemental budget obscures the true costs of caring for military officers and veterans.

FY 2009 Supplemental Appropriations Comparison

($ in millions)



∆ from Obama


∆ from Obama

Sen Vs. House

























































Proc AF Air














MilCon DW









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