Written by SHARLA TORRE MONTVEL-COHEN
Thursday, December 08, 2011
GUAM – The battle over this year's funding and authorizations for military construction on Guam is in its final round on Capitol Hill, where final House-Senate agreement is expected next week on two bills: a massive omnibus spending package to fund the Pentagon and other federal agencies, and the annual defense authorization bill.According to House Armed Services staff, final agreement on the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, which defines national security policy and authorizes military programs, could be reported out of committee next week and prepared for President Obama's signature.
Meanwhile, a $900 billion omnibus budget to fund the Federal Government heads for joint conference Thursday in Washington. The meeting will primarily address House-Senate differences on the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs spending bill, even though eight other appropriations bills are part of the full omnibus package as well.
Negotiations have been going on behind the scenes, so the open meeting is primarily expected to be pro-forma. Legislators want to put a bill on the President's desk for signature by Dec. 12, just before the current temporary budget extension runs out and in time to avert a government shutdown.
Both the Defense Authorization Act and the omnibus bill will decide the fate of $155 million for Marine Corps military construction projects on Guam in H.R. 2055 – the bill for Military Construction and Veterans Affairs programs. In his latest statement on the issue, President Obama opposed the Senate's move to cut the Guam money, warning it would send the wrong signal to Japan, which is sharing the cost of the realignment.
The outcome of another $33 million for Guam buildup-related civilian infrastructure projects in H.R. 2219, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, will also be resolved. The Senate's version of the bill retains that money for Guam (despite recent criticism from Sen. John McCain) and was endorsed by its Appropriations Committee in Sept. The full bill, however, will be hotly debated as the Senate version would fund the Pentagon at $513 billion -- $26 billion less than President Obama requested and at odds with the $530 billion spending bill passed by the House over the summer.
Image used in this article courtesy David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
- 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
- 07/12/2011 09:32 - Pressure to Pass Annual Spending Package Could Bring Short-Term Clarity for Guam Military Buildup
- 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