Defense panel tosses out request for new round of base closures

House lawmakers on Wednesday reaffirmed their opposition to a new round of base closures in 2017, releasing legislation that would block any attempt by the Defense Department to shutter military facilities.

House Armed Services Readiness subcommittee Chairman Robert Wittman (R-Va.), in a statement, said their markup “rejects the president’s request for an additional BRAC round and any other effort that seeks to lock in unwise force structure reductions during a time [of] accelerated transitions."

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Pentagon officials argue that the department has to close bases in order to cut down on roughly 25 percent in excess infrastructure.

Congress has blocked the Pentagon’s request to close bases the last two years as lawmakers worry that authorizing a base-closing commission could lead to facilities in their districts getting the axe.

The proposed bill also requests an “accounting of enduring requirements” funded through the Overseas Contingency Operations fund, which pays for the war in Afghanistan and other U.S. operations around the globe.

The requested Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) in 2017 would have been given authority from Congress to select which installations to shutter. Lawmakers would have had to either accept or reject the panel’s proposals in total.