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House Reduces Construction Funding in FY13 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Funding Bill

June 10, 2012
On May 31, the House passed the FY 2013 Military Constriction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill, providing $71.7 billion in discretionary funding for military construction and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This funding level matches the FY 2012 enacted level, but falls $694 million below President Obama’s FY 2013 request. Looking specifically at the construction numbers, the bill provides $10.6 billion for military construction projects, a decrease of $2.4 billion from last year’s level, and $573.4 million less than the President’s FY 2013 budget request.  Much of the reduction is attributable to the deliberate pause in military construction by the Air Force (-$839 million) and a continued decline in funding requirements for the BRAC 2005 process. As for VA construction funding, the major construction account is funded at $532.5 million, which is $57.1 million below FY 2012 and the same as the President’s FY 2013 Budget Request.  Funds from this provide for the construction of new VA facilities. Turning to VA’s minor construction account, the bill sets the bar at $607.5 million, which is $125.1 million above FY 2012 and the same as the President’s FY 2013 budget request. This account allows the VA to build or renovate health clinics, medical residences, and nursing homes, as well as acquire cemetery land and facilities. The Obama administration threatened to veto the House-passed funding measure because, overall, Republican priorities would hold FY 2013 discretionary spending below the level set in last year’s debt limit law—the Budget Control Act—requiring cuts to programs important to the administration, such as education, job training and health care. AGC continues to advocate for increased funding for these federal construction accounts. For more information, please contact Jimmy Christianson at 703-837-5325 or christiansonj@agc.org.
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