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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies: FY2013 Appropriations

Daniel H. Else
Specialist in National Defense

Christine Scott
Specialist in Social Policy

Sidath Viranga Panangala
Specialist in Veterans Policy

The Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies appropriations bill provides funding for the planning, design, construction, alteration, and improvement of facilities used by active and reserve military components worldwide. It capitalizes military family housing and the U.S. share of the NATO Security Investment Program and finances the implementation of installation closures and realignments. It underwrites veterans benefit and health care programs administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), provides for the creation and maintenance of U.S. cemeteries and battlefield monuments within the United States and abroad, and supports the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, Armed Forces Retirement Homes, and Arlington National Cemetery. The bill also funds advance appropriations for veterans’ medical services.

President Barack Obama submitted his request to Congress for FY2013 appropriations on February 13, 2012. For the appropriations accounts included in this bill, his request totaled $145.2 billion in new budget authority, divided into three major categories: Title I (military construction and family housing) at $11.2 billion; Title II (veterans affairs) at $135.6 billion; and Title III (related agencies) at $219.5 million. Of the total, $74.4 billion (49.9%) would be discretionary appropriations, with the remainder considered mandatory. On May 15, the House Committee on Appropriations reported a bill recommending appropriating $10.9 billion for Title I (less $235 million in funds rescinded from prior years), $135.4 billion for Title II, and $347 million for Title III.

Military construction funding amounts requested by the President and enacted by Congress have fallen off as the 2005 Defense Base Closure and Realignment (BRAC) round has reached completion, although Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has requested statutory authority to carry out two new BRAC rounds in 2013 and 2015. Funding support for military family housing construction has also declined as the military departments (Army, Navy, and Air Force) continue their efforts to privatize formerly government-owned accommodations.

Funding for the VA between FY2012 and FY2013 in the Administration request, H.R. 5854, and S. 3215, reflects increases for mandatory veterans’ benefits and health care. The largest percentage increases between FY2012 and FY2013 are for mandatory benefits, primarily disability compensation and pension benefits.

The House Committee on Appropriations reported its FY2013 bill (H.R. 5854) on May 16, 2012 (H.Rept. 112-491) and passed the bill on May 31. The Senate received H.R. 5854 on June 5. The Senate Committee on Appropriations reported its bill (S. 3215) on May 22 (S.Rept. 112-168), and the bill was placed on the Legislative Calendar under General Orders.

Date of Report: July 5, 2012
Number of Pages: 32
Order Number: R42586
Price: $29.95

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