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House cuts funding for military construction

Jun. 14, 2011 - 06:00AM   |  
By ANDY MEDICI   |   Comments
An aerial view of Joint Base Andrews, Md. A new hospital at the installation is one of four large military construction projects that the Obama administration says would be delayed under a bill the House of Representatives passed on June 14.
An aerial view of Joint Base Andrews, Md. A new hospital at the installation is one of four large military construction projects that the Obama administration says would be delayed under a bill the House of Representatives passed on June 14. (MC2 Clifford L H. Davis / Navy)

A new hospital for Joint Base Andrews, Md., is one of four large military construction projects that the Obama administration says could be left unfinished under a bill the House passed Tuesday.

The $11.4 billion approved for military construction projects in fiscal 2012 fails to provide enough money to complete the four projects, according to an administration statement on the legislation.

The approved funding is more than $1 billion, or 8 percent, less than appropriated in 2011. It is $652 million, or 5 percent, less than the administration requested.

The appropriations bill for the military construction and the Veterans Affairs Department legislation passed 411-5.

The proposed 334,000-square-foot ambulatory care center at Andrews is scheduled to start construction in 2012 and be completed in 2016. The proposed 2012 funding, though less than requested, is enough to start the project. But the administration said the lost funding will have to be restored in future years to complete it.

The other projects at risk are:

A 154,000-square-foot General Support Aviation Battalion Hangar at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, scheduled to start early in 2012.

A 200,000-square-foot operations building for 850 employees currently housed in trailers at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo.

A 90,000-square-foot fuel maintenance hangar at Joint Region Marianas, Guam.

Four large projects would be delayed as a result of reduced funding, according to an administration statement on the legislation

It argues that the funding provided for these projects was not enough to complete them.

One of those projects is a 334,000 square foot hospital at Joint Base Andrews, Md.

The legislation would also continue to wind down the base realignment and closure process, with construction funding dropping from $2.3 billion to $258 million. BRAC projects are supposed to be complete by Sept. 15, but the Defense Department is seeking authority in a separate bill to delay up to seven BRAC-related moves

VA would also see its construction budget cut to a little more than $1 billion, about $75 million, 7 percent below President Obama's request and more than $635 million, or 34 percent below 2011, under the House-passed bill.

Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said the legislation "maintains our promise to reduce federal spending levels and find savings wherever possible."

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