November 29, 2021 Update
[New information bolded and italicized]
Congress returns from recess this week.
Just before the recess, in the Senate, it finally happened — almost. After a long delay, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer brought up the Fiscal Year 2022 Defense Authorization bill. The bill moved through various parliamentary maneuvers, and got to the point that the majority and minority on the Senate Armed Services Committee agreed to a package of about 57 cleared amendments, 27 offered by Democrats, 27 offered by Republicans, and three bipartisan amendments. The two parties also agreed to recorded floor votes on 19 amendments, with two minutes of debate on each one and 60 votes required for approval of each amendment.
And then it all fell apart. A number of Republican Senators rose to object to a unanimous consent agreement outlined above because some of their pet amendments were not included among the 19 slated for recorded votes.
The Senate did what it does best: talked and negotiated behind the scenes, came to an impasse, and then shuttled the bill off until after Thanksgiving. It is not clear what happens now. But never say that Senators were not busy; they filed some 965 amendments to the bill.
With time running short to complete the bill before the end of the year, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith discussed what is called a “ping pong” approach, which would involve one chamber amending a bill with a compromise defense bill language and passing it through to the other chamber.
Still in limbo: appropriations bills; a Continuing Resolution to permit government agencies to spend at last year’s level runs out on December 3. The debt ceiling must be raised in the December timeframe.
Key Fiscal Year 2022 National Security Bills
Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Bill
In late July, the House Armed Services subcommittees authorized funding for the Fiscal Year 2022 Defense Authorization bill. The full Armed Services Committee will not meet to consider the bill until after the August recess. Major issues and votes were put off until then.
On July 22, the Senate Armed Services Committee completed markup (or writing) of the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act. The bill was adopted 23-3. The bill supports a total of $777.9 billion in fiscal year 2022 funding for national defense. Within this topline, the legislation authorizes $740.3 billion for the Department of Defense (DOD) and $27.7 billion for national security programs within the Department of Energy (DOE).
The committee voted to increase the defense budget requested by the Biden administration by $25 billion, $37 billion more than was enacted for fiscal 2021. The increase was approved 25-1, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) the only dissenter. Every Republican and all but one Democrat on the committee voted for the additional funding.
The committee approved a provision offered by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) to create military attorney offices, rather than senior officers, that would decide which felony allegations to prosecute, a provision not limited to sexual offenses. It also added six F-35 aircraft, five F-15EX jets and another Arleigh Burke class destroyer.
The bill goes to the full Senate after the August recess.
On July 27 and 28, all the House Armed Services Subcommittees marked up or wrote their sections of the bills.
For a detailed analysis of the House $777.9 billion bill by our sister organization, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, click here.
Fiscal Year 2022 Defense Appropriations Bill
On June 30, the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee approved by voice vote a $706 billion bill, an increase of $10 billion above 2021 in line with President Biden’s Pentagon budget request of $715 billion. The bill eliminated funding for the Navy’s sea-launched cruise missile – nuclear program, added an extra destroyer, ended the Overseas Contingency Operations fund, mandated the closing of the Guantanamo Bay Prison by the end of fiscal 2022, and included $25 million to extricate Afghans who aided U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
On July 13, the full House Appropriations Committee approved the $706 billion fiscal year 2022 Defense Appropriations bill on a 33-23 vote, in line with President Biden’s Pentagon budget request of $715 billion. The Committee adopted a pair of amendments from Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) to repeal the 2001 AUMF and the 2002 Iraq War authorization and rejected 26-31 an amendment from Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) to reinstate a long-running ban on money to close the Guantanamo Bay prison or transfer detainees to the U.S.
Joined by the Senate, the House approved a continuing resolution to prevent a government shutdown on October 1 by keeping federal agencies funded at current levels through December 3. The vote was 254-175. The stand-alone measure would freeze funding for all Pentagon programs at the current year’s levels, largely barring the military from starting new programs or speeding up existing ones.
Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Resolution
At the end of May, the Biden administration released its long awaited detailed fiscal year 2022 budget. The top line number is $753 billion for defense spending, a 1.7 percent increase from the final enacted Trump budget. The request included $715 billion for the Pentagon.
Despite a budget review of about four and a half months, the Biden team requested a nuclear weapons budget of $43.2 billion, with very little variation from the Trump administration’s proposals. Indeed, the request funds, or even expands, nearly every nuclear program from the Trump administration.
The new request was not consistent with President Biden’s campaign rhetoric or the Democratic Party platform. Progressives will look to reduce the request while conservatives will attempt to raise it.
For a detailed analysis of the $777.9 billion House bill by our sister organization, the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, click here.
Fiscal Year 2022 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill
On July 12, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water approved by voice vote its fiscal year 2022 bill and the full Appropriations Committee voted for it on July 16 with a 33-24 vote. The bill provides $53.2 billion, an increase of $1.5 billion above 2021, including $20.2 billion for DOE’s nuclear security programs of which $15.5 billion goes for nuclear weapons activities. The Committee rejected any funding related to the Nuclear Sea-Launched Cruise Missile.
On July 29, the House passed by a 219 to 208 vote a package of seven 2022 appropriations bills, including Energy and Water.
On August 4, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted 25-5 to advance a $53.6 billion fiscal 2022 funding bill for the Energy Department, Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation, including $15.5 billion for nuclear weapons activities and $2.2 billion for nuclear non-proliferation programs. The bill conditions new funding for a nuclear sea-launched cruise missile and associated warheads on the outcome of the Biden administration’s Nuclear Posture Review.
On July 29, the House passed, on a 219 to 208 vote, a package of seven 2022 appropriations bills, including Energy and Water.
Fiscal Year 2022 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill
On June 28, the House State, Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee approved by voice vote $62.2 billion for fiscal year 2022, which was a 12% increase over current funding levels, including more than $18 billion for the State Department and $1.8 billion for the U.S. Agency for International Development.
On July 1, the full House Appropriations Committee approved the State, Foreign Operations bill 32-25 that the subcommittee had marked up on June 25.
On July 28, the House approved by a 217 to 212 vote, the 2022 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs funding bill.
Fiscal Year 2022 Military Construction-Veterans’ Administration (VA) Bill
On June 25, the House Appropriations Military Construction-Veterans Administration panel approved the $279.9 billion fiscal 2022 spending legislation by voice vote.
On June 30, the full House Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal 2022 military construction legislation by a 33-24 vote, a bill previously approved by subcommittee. In total, the bill provides $279.9 billion, an increase of $28.1 billion – more than 10 percent – above 2021. Of this amount, discretionary funding for programs such as veterans’ health care and Military Construction totals $124.5 billion, an increase of $11.4 billion above 2021.The bill provided a total of $10.9 billion for military construction (a portion of the Pentagon budget), $2.9 billion above the 2021 enacted level and $1.1 billion above the President’s budget request.
On July 29, the House passed by a 219 to 208 vote a package of seven 2022 appropriations bills, including the Military Construction Bill.
On August 4, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted 25-5 for the fiscal 2022 military construction spending bill, approving $11 billion to defense infrastructure, family housing and related accounts.