Written by SHARLA TORRE MONTVEL-COHEN
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
GUAM – The $303 million the Department of Defense hopes Congress will appropriate this fiscal year to proceed with long-delayed military construction projects for Guam could see some movement in a massive omnibus spending bill that House and Senate appropriators must pass by early next week.Failure to pass the $900 billion national spending package for a host of federal agencies including DoD would result in a government shutdown when current funding runs out on Dec. 16.
The idea to lump the remaining nine appropriations bills into a single omnibus package, originally proffered by Senate Democrats, now has some traction among House Republican leaders. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) confirmed Friday in Washington the leadership's willingness to stick to the $1.043 trillion spending level of the August debt-ceiling deal with the White House in order to ensure smooth passage of the omnibus bill.
That said, ideological policy riders could still yet have Republicans and Democrats butting heads. President Obama is warning that certain riders that Republicans may push for – such as any policy to block environmental priorities – could be grounds for vetoing the bill.
Still, ideology could be outweighed by political practicality. With elections coming up next year, no one wants to be seen as obstructionist and bear the blame for a government shutdown.
The Guam money at stake includes $155 million for Marine Corps military construction projects in H.R. 2055, and $33 million for buildup-related civilian infrastructure projects in H.R. 2219. The Senate has opposed this money for the Guam military buildup while Mr. Obama, the Pentagon and the House have insisted the funding be retained in order to push through with the troop realignment agreement between the U.S. and Japan. The buildup is meant to prepare Guam to receive thousands of Marines that Japan wants transferred away from Okinawa to reduce that island's troop hosting burden.
Congress is also overdue to pass the annual National Defense Authorization Act. The Senate finally passed its version of the bill last week, setting the stage for a fight with the House over Guam buildup authorizations in bicameral conference.
That bill, H.R. 1540, goes hand-in-hand with budget appropriations measures, as both authorization and budget are needed for Pentagon activities, including Guam military construction and the Marine relocation.
For more on the omnibus spending package story, see The Hill: Final Government Shutdown Fight Rings Out the Old Year.
- 13/12/2011 14:38 - House-Senate Conference Submits Final Defense Policy Bill, Freezes Guam Military Buildup Projects in 2012 Budget Year; Full Vote Expected this Week
- 11/12/2011 17:40 - President Obama Weighs in on 2012 Defense Policy Bill; Authorization for Guam Military Buildup Nears Decision Point
- 11/12/2011 17:32 - Japan Censure to Remove Defense Minister Deals Political Blow to Noda, Complicates Progress on Futenma Replacement Base and Marines’ Realignment to Guam
- 08/12/2011 12:14 - Two House-Senate Conference Committees Will Decide Fate of 2012 Funding for Guam Military Buildup as Early as Next Week
- 05/12/2011 08:08 - Pentagon May Offer Key Law Makers Early Look at New Spending Plan; Revised Guam Military Buildup Timeline Likely to Be Included
- 02/12/2011 15:37 - UPDATE: Senate Vote Sets Up Showdown with House of Representatives Over Guam Military Buildup; President Obama supports House Version
- 01/12/2011 09:12 - Japanese Defense Minister Disciplines Official, Apologizes to Okinawans, Tries to Regain Momentum for Futenma Replacement Air Base
- 30/11/2011 15:32 - Latest Drawback in Tokyo’s Quest to Build Understanding with Okinawans on Marine Basing Issue
- 29/11/2011 09:38 - Senate Democrats Aim to Solve 2012 Appropriations, Including Military Construction for Guam, Through Omnibus Spending Bill in December