House GOP trims military construction, VA measure ‘for first time in history’

The House Appropriations Committee on Thursday announced its 2012 budget for military construction and Veterans Affairs will cut the administration's $73.7 billion request by $1.2 billion.

The budget reductions are the latest move by House Republicans to slash federal spending. Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas), the chairman of the subcommittee on military construction and veterans affairs, said it was the “first time in history” appropriators had cut this spending bill.

The panel's $72.5 billion bill, to be marked up Friday, is $615 million smaller than what was allocated in 2011. Most of the savings were found in “the expected decline in funding requirements” for base realignments and closures, along with “significant reductions from construction cost savings,” the panel said in a statement.

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Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) trumpeted the legislation for funding “critical quality of life programs for our troops, their families, and our veterans, and [providing] our military personnel with the resources to effectively advance U.S. missions abroad and the support they need here at home.”

In a sign of the dire fiscal times, Rogers also highlighted the cuts.

“At the same time,” he said in the same statement, “the legislation takes responsible steps to trim excess spending wherever possible and requires strong oversight over spending to ensure that the American people, our troops, and our veterans are getting the most from each and every precious tax dollar.”