Huge Omnibus Appropriations Package: An Unwieldy Mess

Washington, D.C. — Council for a Livable World, a Washington D.C. group focused on national security issues, today criticized the huge $1.067 trillion Omnibus Appropriations Bill filed late last evening as “an unwieldy mess.”

The bill is 2,009 pages long and filled with special interest provisions and last minute deals on riders that most Members of Congress and the public will have very little time to digest before it is voted upon.

“This is a terrible way to fund the government,” commented John Isaacs, the Council’s executive director.

“If Congress could legislate responsibly, it would not have to deal with these end-of-session legislative monstrosities year after year,” Isaacs added.

The bill includes $514 billion for the base Pentagon budget. It also includes $74 billion for the slush fund called loosely the Overseas Contingency Operations account, which includes $59 billion for the Pentagon. The $573 billion for defense is $5 billion less than the President’s request and $19 billion more than what was enacted for FY 2015.

The most ironic line in the Democrat’s Senate Appropriations Committee press release: “The Subcommittee’s allocation eliminates the OCO gimmick.” It’s simply not true, as it leaves $74 billion in the account.

Notable provisions in the bill:

  • Bars closing of the Guantanamo Bay prison
  • Dropped House-passed provision providing funds through transfer authority for a National Sea-Based Deterrence Fund to pay for new nuclear-armed submarines.
  • Provides $359 million for the Cooperative Threat Reduction non-proliferation program
  • Funds $8.8 billion for nuclear weapons work in the Department of Energy budget, an increase of $615 million from last year
  • Provides $250 million for Ukraine defensive equipment and training
  • Funds $8.1 billion for the Missile Defense Agency, an increase of $175 million from the request
  • Bars spending on nuclear armed missile defense interceptors (Section 8076)
  • Bars reductions or preparation for reductions of any deployed or non-deployed nuclear strategic delivery systems or launchers below New START levels (Section 8112)
  • Bars spending to implement the Arms Trade Treaty (Section 8118)
  • Bars retirement or preparations for retirement of A-10 aircraft (Section 8123)
  • Bars any preparations for a new round of base closures (Section 8132)

Among the add-ons from the Pentagon’s original request:

  • $350 million for 5 F/A-18 Super Hornets for the Navy.
  • $660 million to the President’s request for 7 E/A-18G Growlers for the Navy.
  • F-35 Lightning II Procurement:
    • $294 million for three Air Force aircraft.
    • $780 million for six Marine Corps aircraft.
    • $255 million for two Navy aircraft.
  • Adds $329.8 million to the President’s request for Israeli missile defense programs.
  • Adds $138.8 million to the President’s request for seven additional Blackhawks for the Army National Guard.
  • Adds $1 billion to the President’s request for an additional DDG-51 Destroyer and $635 million for an Afloat Forward Staging Base.

For more insight or to get in touch with our experts, contact John Isaacs at 202.543.4100 x2222.