Appropriators see eye to eye on military bill, to little avail

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The legislation would spend $71.7 billion, the same as last year and about $700 million below Obama’s request.

“This bill has a strong reputation for common ground as members traditionally work together to fund construction of military facilities and the quality of life of veterans and military families. Thankfully, that tradition continues as this bill provides funding levels that members on both sides agree are appropriate, while avoiding contentious legislative riders that complicate passage,” committee ranking member Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) said.

In a normal year, the bill would soon be on Obama’s desk for enactment. Last month, however, the Obama administration informed Congress that until the House abandons its overall 2013 budget, authored by possible GOP vice presidential pick Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.), Obama would not sign any individual appropriations bills.

The Ryan budget cut spending in 2013 by $19 billion compared to August's debt-ceiling deal. Democrats say the GOP is violating that deal; the GOP says the deal only set ceilings not floors on what can be spent.

The standoff threatens a government shutdown crisis in the fall and in the very least makes it more likely 2013 spending will be enacted through omnibus legislation that noncommittee members have little time to review before final passage.

Dicks in his statement warned that deep cuts to social programs are coming as the Ryan budget is fleshed out through the 12 annual spending bills. He urged the GOP to return to the August spending level of $1.047 trillion. 

As in previous years, the bill includes a provision that prohibits accused terrorists from being transferred out of Guantanamo Bay prison camp.