H.R. 2055 – Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012
(Sen. Inouye, D-HI)
The Administration supports Senate passage of H.R. 2055, making appropriations for military construction, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2012, and for other purposes.
The Administration is committed to ensuring the Nation lives within its means and reducing the deficit so that the Nation can compete in the global economy and win the future. That is why the President put forth a comprehensive fiscal framework that reduces the deficit by $4 trillion, supports economic growth and long-term job creation, protects critical investments, meets the commitments made to provide dignity and security to Americans no matter their circumstances, and provides for our national security.
While overall funding limits and subsequent allocations remain unclear pending the outcome of ongoing bipartisan, bicameral discussions between the Administration and congressional leadership on the Nation's long-term fiscal picture, the Administration would like to take this opportunity to share additional views regarding the Committee's version of the bill.
Overseas Construction Funding. The Administration is concerned about the reduction in funding for military construction projects in Bahrain as well as those associated with the relocation of United States Marines to Guam. Deferring or eliminating these projects could signal that the U.S. does not stand by its allies or its agreements such as the realignment of forces from Okinawa to Guam.
Military Construction. The Administration appreciates the Committee's support for critical military construction projects but is concerned with the use of incremental funding that would not support usable segments for the following projects: Aviation Complex, Fort Wainwright, Alaska; Mountainview Operations Center, Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado; Ambulatory Care Center, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland; Ambulatory Care Center, Joint Base San Antonio, Texas; and Guam Strike Fuel Systems Maintenance Hangar, Joint Region Marianas, Guam. Incremental funding of military construction projects runs counter to sound budgeting principles and fiscal discipline.
Constitutional Concerns. Section 113 is phrased in a manner that could be construed to require the Executive Branch, without discretion, to notify the Congress 30 days in advance of certain military exercises, which would intrude on the President's discharge of his constitutional authorities and duties to protect national security.
The Administration recommends revising section 113 to make explicit that 30 days advance notice to the Congress is required where feasible and consistent with the President's constitutional responsibilities to protect national security.
The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress as the fiscal year 2012 appropriations process moves forward.