House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rodgers, R-Ky., introduced a legislation today that would keep the federal government funded through September, while still honoring the sequestration cuts agreed to as part of the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA). The bill might face opposition from the White House, however, because it also reorganizes some spending to better ensure national and border security.
Specifically, the new Continuing Resolution (CR) spends $982 billion through the end of this fiscal year, and includes these changes to current law:
- $127.5 billion to provide for 1,402,108 active-duty troops and 843,286 reserves. This funding level is $3.6 billion below last year, due to the reduction in troop totals. This also includes a 1.7% pay raise for the military, which is in line with authorized totals.
- $32.7 billion – $233 million above last year’s level – for Defense health and family programs to provide care for our troops, military families, and retirees. This funding includes critical medial research on combat-related illnesses and injuries, including in areas such as brain trauma, psychological health, suicide, spinal injuries and prosthetics.
- $173.5 billion for operation and maintenance – $1.4 billion below the request and $10.4 billion above enacted levels. This is essential funding for key readiness programs to prepare our troops for combat and peace-time missions, flight time and battle training, equipment and facility maintenance, and base operations.
- A provision allowing Customs and Border Protection to maintain current staffing levels.
- A provision providing roughly $2 billion above the current level for embassy security, which supports the full fiscal year 2013 request and increased security needs identified after the Benghazi attack.
- A provision allowing additional funding to ensure the safe and secure operation of Federal Prisons.
- A provision allowing additional funding for the Department of Interior and the Forest Service for wildfire suppression efforts.
Obama has signaled that he wants the sequester to be as painful as possible for Americans so that sequestration forces Republicans to raise taxes. This new House CR would keep the government from shutting down while also mitigating some of the security issues raised by the sequester. It is unclear if Obama is willing to accept such a compromise.