House and Senate Appropriations Committee leadership unveiled Jan. 13 a $1.1 trillion funding bill for fiscal 2014 that includes all 12 appropriations bills. The House and Senate had previously approved their own versions of the defense and military construction funding bills. However, a budget resolution approved in December required additional cuts from earlier marks.
The House overwhelmingly approved the measure 359-67, advancing it to the Senate. The spending bill is expected to easily pass the Senate later this week before heading to the president’s desk for signature.
While many of the major funding accounts have been scaled back, the bills include numerous provisions that demonstrate Congressional support of the Army and Air National Guard as an operational force:
- For the Army National Guard, the bill would provide an additional $100 million for Humvee procurement, $75 million for UH-72 Lakotas and an additional $72 million for UH-60M Black Hawks.
- For the Air National Guard, the bill provides $40 million to ensure that the six units transitioning to MQ-1/9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle split operations by fiscal 2020 are properly equipped for a timely and orderly transition to this new mission. The bill also includes Research Development Test and Evaluation funding for the Air Guard including: $2 million for Sniper Digital Video, $3.5 million for Remotely Piloted Aircraft Ground Based Sense and Avoid and $47.3 million for the C-130 AMP.
- Also included in the bill is an additional $130 million for the National Guard Counter Drug program and an additional $10 million for the Youth ChalleNGe program. The bill also provides $25 million for STARBASE, a program that was not funded in the president’s budget request.
- The Army Guard and Air Guard NGREA accounts are each funded at $315 million.
- For military construction funding, the Air Guard is funded at the requested level of $119.8 million, while the Army Guard is funded at $314.7 million, $6 million below the requested level.