H.R. 2216: Funding for Military Construction & Veterans

The House passed it’s version of the 2014 funding for military construction and the Department of Veteran’s affairs. This bill needs to merge with a Senate funding bill before it can become law.

*Get all the details on this bill in Congressional Dish episode CD030*

Background

The government is funded through yearly appropriations bills. When the government is functioning properly, the House will pass twelve appropriations bills funding different parts of the government as will the Senate; afterwards, Congress will form conference committees made up of Representatives and Senators who will work out the differences between the bills. The twelve conference committee bills then go for a vote in both the House and Senate and, if passed, go to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

H.R. 2216 is the House of Representatives version of the appropriations bill for military construction and the Department of Veteran’s affairs. There is very little chance that the bill will be signed into law in exactly this form because it still needs to merge with a Senate version. This means you have an opportunity to contact your Representative in the House and your two Senators to change anything in this bill that you don’t like.

Bill Highlights

(Significant Increases are in bold; significant decreases are in italics)

TITLE I: DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

      • $1.1 B (2013 = $1.7 B until 2017): Army construction available until 2018 for “acquisition, construction, installation, and equipment of temporary or permanent public works, military installations, facilities, and real property… and host nation support”
      • $1.6 B (2013 = $1.5 B until 2017): Navy & Marine construction available until 2018
      • Section 135 adds $75 M for projects that will be “conducted within the 50 States”.
      • $1.1 B (2013 = $323 M until 2017): Air Force construction available until 2018
      • $3.7 B (2013 = $3.5 B until 2017): Defense-wide construction available until 2018
      • Includes $38 million for a new NATO headquarters ($27 million was appropriated in 2013)
      • $316 M (2013 = $614M until 2017): Army National Guard construction available until 2018
      • $108 M (2013 = $42 M until 2017): Air National Guard construction available until 2018
      • $174 M (2013 = $306 M until 2017): Army Reserve construction available until 2018
      • $33 M (2013 = $50 M until 2017): Navy Reserve construction available until 2018
      • $46 M (2013 = $11 M until 2017): Air Force Reserve construction available until 2018
      • $200 M (2013 = $254 M available indefinitely): NATO construction of military facilities and installations available indefinitely
      • $557 M (2013 = $535 M): Army family housing construction, operations, and maintenance.
      • $463 M (2013 = $480 M): Navy & Marines housing
      • $465 M (2013 = $582 M): Air Force housing
      • $58 M (2013 = $54 M): Defense-wide housing
      • $123 M (2013 = $151 M until 2017): For chemical destruction, available until 2018
      • $451 M (2013 = $536 M available indefinitely): Base closures, available indefinitely

Section 101

Section 103

Section 105

      • No money from this title can be used to buy land for more than it’s worth except
      • When it’s negotiated by the Attorney General
      • The value is less than $25,000
      • The Defense Secretary says OK

Section 108

      • No money from this title can be used for a steel contract that American steel manufacturers were not allowed to compete for.

Section 109

      • No money can be used to pay property taxes in foreign nations

Section 111

      • No money can be used for contracts over $500,000 for projects in Japan, a NATO member country, or a country bordering the Arabian Sea unless the contract goes to a US company or a partnership including US companies.

Section 115

      • Expired funds may be used for “the cost of associated supervision, inspection, overhead, engineering and design” of military construction or family housing projects.

Section 123

      • During the five years after the appropriations have expired, the left over money may be transferred to the “Foreign Currency Fluctuations, Construction, Defense” account. The money then is “to be merged” with the account the money originally came from and the money can then be used. Click here to see an example.

Section 124

Sections 126 – Section 132

    • Rescinds $659 M in unobligated funds for military construction from previous appropriations bills.

TITLE II: DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS

  • $71 B (2013 = $60 B): Veteran’s compensation and benefits
  • $13 B (2013 = $12 B): Readjustment benefits
  • $56 B (2013 = $55 B): Veteran’s medical care and facilities
  • $1 B: Construction and maintenance for the Department of Veterans Affairs available until 2018

TITLE IV: GENERAL PROVISIONS

Section 409

  • Computer networks funded by this bill must block the viewing, downloading or exchanging of pornography.

Section 410

  • No money can be given to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN)… even though ACORN no longer exists. No money can be given to ACORN’s “successors” either.

Section 412

  • No money from this bill can be used to buy first-class travel for executive branch employees.

Section 413

  • No money from this bill may be used to “construct, renovate, or expand any facility in the United States, its territories, or possessions to house any individual detained at United States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay.”

Section 414

  • No money from this bill can be used to pay a contractor that has hired illegal immigrants (see Executive Order 12989)

Section 415

  • No money from this bill can be used to pay or provide a loan to a contractor that has been convicted of a felony in the preceding two years… unless “the agency” says this “is not necessary to protect the interests of the Government.”

Section 416

  • No money from this bill can be used to pay or provide a loan to a contractor that has unpaid Federal tax liability… unless “the agency” says this “is not necessary to protect the interests of the Government.”

Section 417

  • No money from this bill can be used to “wind down or otherwise alter the implementation of a program, project, or activity in anticipation of any change (including any elimination or reduction in funding) proposed in a budget request” until that change is enacted by Congress

AMENDMENTS ADDED TO THE END OF THE BILL

Kingston Amendment

  • If 40% or more of unprocessed veteran disability claims are 125 days old or older on July 1, 2014, Department of Veterans Affairs officials will only be paid 75% of their salary from July 1, 2014 – September 30, 2014.

Grayson Amendment

  • The government cannot enter into a contract using money from this bill with a company that:
  • During the preceding three years has been convicted of fraud, anti-trust violations, embezzlement, theft, forgery, bribery, falsification or destruction of records, lying, tax evasion, or receiving stolen property.
  • Are presently charged with any of the above illegal acts.
  • Has over $3,000 in unpaid Federal taxes.

Runyan Amendment

  • None of this money can be used to propose, plan for, or actually complete another round of base closures.

Murphy (FL) Amendment

  • No money can be used for a contract over $1,000,000 if the Department of Defense did not receive at least two offers.

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