House and Senate appropriators were stuck this week in efforts to strike a deal to keep the Government open through next September.
Guam – Guam military and civilian infrastructure funding hinge on Congress reaching a deal before Christmas to fund the government for the rest of this fiscal year.
House and Senate appropriators were stuck this week in efforts to strike a deal on policy and spending riders on a massive ‘omnibus’ spending bill to keep the government open through next September. Caught in the partisan crossfire over regulatory, refugee and other ‘hot’ issues, is funding for Guam military and civilian build-up spending, and a restoration of discretionary Compact Aid.
The administration proposed a 2 million dollar cut to Compact Assistance that was reversed in the House Interior spending bill. That bill and the annual Pentagon and Military Construction bills would be part of any sweeping Omnibus package to finish out the fiscal year.
272 million is appropriated in House and Senate military construction bills for Guam, including live-fire training range at Northwest Field. The separate DOD funding bill includes 20 million in Office of Economic Adjustment funds for Guam civilian infrastructure projects, specifically water and sewer work. The Senate was ‘silent’ on that funding, requested by President Obama, but the enacted National Defense Authorization Act lifts an earlier Senate spending restriction, and keeps the Guam build-up on track.
The House DOD bill also boosts the Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration program by 14 million dollars. The program works to resolve land-use conflicts and regulatory restrictions that can limit military training. Top Democrat on the House Armed Services Readiness panel, Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo requested the extra funding to deal with build-up needs.
There’s also an added 1.2 million for the Sea Cadet program. And, the bill keeps the Triton unmanned aircraft system on track for basing in Guam. The bill would fund purchase of one additional Triton.
An October government-wide budget deal, partially lifts 2011 across-the-board cuts known as sequestration, adding 40 billion for domestic and defense programs, once an Omnibus bill is passed.
Senate Armed Services Chair John McCain stresses the top military chiefs testified the cuts put the lives of the nation’s men and women in uniform, at risk.