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House Defense Appropriations Bill and Security Assistance July 29, 2009

Posted by Rebecca Williams in Analysis.
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Congress is well into the process of passing the appropriations bills that will dictate federal government spending for Fiscal Year (FY) 2010, which begins October 1, 2009. The Full Committee marked up the House Defense Appropriations Bill late last week which funds most military functions of the Department of Defense (DOD), including DOD’s security and foreign assistance programs.

The House defense appropriations bill was guided by the revised 302 (b) discretionary spending limits which incorporated Overseas Contingency Operations into the defense allocation. This sets a new standard, as past funding for Iraq and Afghanistan has been provided for via emergency supplemental appropriations bills, not the “regular” budgetary cycle.

By precedent, appropriations originate in the House; the Senate will consider their defense appropriations measures after the upcoming summer recess. Critical points of the House bill concerning security assistance include:

  • Commander’s Emergency Response Program (CERP): The bill provided $1.3 billion for CERP, which is the full amount authorized by the House National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and is $200 million less than the president’s request. Concerned about the lack of management and few limitations on CERP funds, the Committee withheld $500 million pending the development and submission of a comprehensive CERP spending plan to Congress. The House also requires quarterly reports on CERP.
  • Coalition Support Funds (CSF): The bill provided $1.54 billion for CSF, $60 million below the president’s request; the House and Senate NDAA fully authorized the requested amount of $1.6 billion. In the Report, House Appropriators expressed concern over the use of CSF to fund internal Pakistani security operations instead of military operations conducted in support of US operations, and urged more guidelines.
  • The House provided $7.46 billion for the Afghan Security Forces Fund, matching the president’s request and the authorized amount in the House and Senate NDAA. The administration did not request funds for Iraq Security Forces Fund and the House Appropriators did not provide any funding.
  • The House appropriations bill included language that provides not more than $50 million for Combatant Commander Initiative Fund (CCIF) out of Defense-Wide O&M. CCIF has permanent authority established by Title 10 Section 166a, which is generally a $25 million a year program, but in recent years CCIF has received supplemental appropriations which have roughly doubled this amount.
  • The House provided $404.1 million for Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR), matching the president’s request. The House NDAA authorized $434.1 million, $30 million more than the appropriated amount and the Senate NDAA authorized $424.2 million. The House NDAA authorized CTR to accept international contributions for CTR activities, and submission of a report by the National Academy of Sciences on metrics to measure the impact and effectiveness of CTR activities.
  • The House appropriations bill contains language that provides for the use of funds for “lift and sustain” and requires quarterly reports to the congressional defense committees.
  • The House bill matched the president’s request for Overseas Humanitarian Disaster and Civic Aid (OHDACA) providing $109 million.
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