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House introduces FY 2017 appropriations bill for DoD

03 March 2017
The FY 2017 bill would fund the acquisition of three littoral combat ships. Among other defence acquisitions, US President Donald Trump has called for a 350-ship navy. Source: US Navy

A final version of the fiscal year 2017 (FY 2017) defence appropriations bill was introduced on 2 March by the House Appropriations Committee and includes USD577.9 billion for the Department of Defense (DoD).

The legislation, which is to be considered on the House floor during the week commencing 6 March, "closely reflects the [FY 2017] defense appropriations bill the House passed last summer and is consistent with the final National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2017", the committee said in a statement.

The bill faces significant hurdles. Individual appropriations bills have not been passed recently, and the work done on them has been rolled into overall 'omnibus' legislation that funds the entire government.

The FY 2017 spending bill includes USD516.1 billion in base discretionary funding and USD61.8 billion in the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account. It does not cover funding for Department of Energy nuclear activities or other defence-related accounts.

A stopgap Continuing Resolution (CR) budget, which began 1 October 2016 and is the second of FY 2017, was enacted by then-President Barack Obama on 10 December 2016 to fund the US federal government at last year's levels until 28 April 2017. That legislation added USD5.8 billion in supplemental funding for the DoD.

Total DoD discretionary '051' funding for FY 2017, given OCO and the added money in the CR, would be USD583.7 billion if the bill's numbers are enacted.

The appropriations committee said it includes USD1.6 billion "above the request for increased end strength, to include military personnel and operational support costs". The National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2017 authorises higher active-duty end strength numbers that officials had for the past few years sought to drop to save funding. The law authorises active-duty end strengths for FY 2017 as US Air Force 321,000, US Army 476,000, US Navy 323,900, and US Marine Corps (USMC) 185,000.

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