House appropriators cut military construction spending

The House Appropriations Committee is cutting spending on military construction in its first 2015 appropriations bill, while boosting funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

In all, the committee’s legislation provides $71.5 billion in discretionary spending for military construction and Veterans Affairs — $1.8 billion less than what was enacted last year.

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The bill provides $6.6 billion for military construction, a cut of $3.3 billion compared to 2014 appropriations levels.

The panel says the spending reduction is attributed to a lack of need for new military construction projects.

The appropriations measure increases funding for veterans programs, meanwhile, by $1.5 billion.

The legislation includes $158.2 billion in total funding for the VA for both discretionary and mandatory spending. That represents an increase of $10.3 billion compared to 2014.

The bill includes $64.7 billion in discretionary spending, including $55.6 billion that was provided in advanced appropriations last year.

The House appropriations subcommittee for military construction and the VA will mark up the bill on Thursday.

The markup officially begins the 2015 appropriations process, in which the House and Senate have already agreed to a total spending level from the budget deal reached last December.

The panels hope to complete all 12 spending bills by the start of the fiscal year, Oct. 1, for the first time since the 1990s.

The House Appropriations Committee has not yet released its full outline of 2015 spending, known as 302Bs, which divides up the $1.012 trillion in total discretionary funds.