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House GOP proposes mitigating DoD operations sequester in continuing resolution bill

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Defense Department readiness spending would increase nearly $10 billion under a continuing resolution House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) introduced March 4.

The bill, H.R. 933, would fund the federal government through the rest of the fiscal year after the current continuing resolution expires March 27. The bill would not reverse sequestration, but by increasing DoD operations and maintenance spending at a level greater than the fiscal 2012 amount permitted under the current continuing resolution, it would result in a $9.59 billion increase to the O&M budget over the amount allowable by sequestration.

Total O&M spending would total $159.97 billion under the Rogers continuing resolution after sequestration; the fiscal 2012 amount is $163.1 billion, but under the 7.8 percent sequestration rate that kicked into action March 1, that amount drops to $150.38 billion.

The overall topline for discretionary spending under the Rogers bill would be $982 billion, an amount House Appropriations says in a statement is equal to the topline permitted by sequestration.

However, as with Defense readiness spending, not all accounts would weather sequestration equally. The bill would prevent Immigration and Customs Enforcement from spending less than an amount necessary to maintain 34,000 detention beds; ICE released some low-risk undocumented aliens in anticipation of sequestration in late February.

Customs and Border Protection would receive enough money to maintain current staffing levels.

The Rogers bill would also mostly preserve National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration procurement dollars and would fund the entire fiscal 2013 request of $802 million for the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R weather satellite program.

The FBI would also have its salaries and expenses budget mostly preserved, "to ensure current staffing levels and critical increases in cybersecurity and surveillance," the House Appropriations statement says.

A centralized information technology fund controlled by the Justice Department would be cut in half, however; the Justice Information Sharing Technology budget would go down to $22 million from its fiscal 2012 amount of $44 million.

The bill would also preserve a pay freeze for federal employees, overriding a Dec. 27 executive order from President Obama that would increase pay by .5 percent on March 27.

For more:
- go to the THOMAS page for H.R. 933
- read the House Appropriations statement

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