House to debate Defense bills with pay, job implications for feds


The Obama administration’s fight with House Republicans over fiscal 2013 spending takes center stage this week as the House votes on two key pieces of legislation -- its defense spending bill, and the Sequestration Transparency Act.

Debate on the $608 billion Defense appropriations bill is slated to begin Wednesday. The White House threatened in late June to veto the legislation, citing extra spending that departs from the 2011 Budget Control Act and would require harmful cuts to other areas of government.

Under the Budget Control Act, the Defense Department must find $487 billion in savings in its budget over the next 10 years. If sequestration kicks in, then it will face $600 billion in additional cuts over 10 years, as part of $1.2 trillion in cuts governmentwide. The House’s defense spending bill, which provides $519.2 billion in nonwar funding, is more than $3 billion above President Obama’s budget request.

Among the administration’s many objections to the House spending bill is its silence on a pay raise for the department’s civilian employees, and its rejection of White House proposals to increase TRICARE fees to generate savings.

Both the House’s spending bill and its Defense authorization bill include a 1.7 percent pay raise for military members, in keeping with Obama’s fiscal 2013 proposal.

Consistent with other House appropriations bills, the defense spending measure does not include President Obama’s recommended 0.5 percent pay raise for civilians, a trend the White House has called “neither sustainable nor desirable.”

In its fiscal 2013 proposal, the administration also suggested increasing premiums for TRICARE retirees. Under the proposal, TRICARE retirees under the family plan would see their premiums increase between $31 and $128 per month. The White House’s budget request also includes new co-pays; new prime, standard and extra enrollment fees; adjustments to deductibles; and catastrophic coverage caps. Those changes, the administration estimates, will save Defense about $12.1 billion over the next 10 years.

The Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee plans to mark up its version of the bill sometime before the August recess.

House leadership also plans to bring legislation to the floor this week requiring the White House to disclose details of how federal agencies will implement the mandatory across-the-board budget cuts if the sequestration threat goes into effect.

The bill, known as the Sequestration Transparency Act, has passed the House Budget Committee and passed the full Senate in June as part of the farm bill. It requires the president to submit a report to Congress within 30 days of enactment that includes details of agencies’ sequester plans.

The legislation, sponsored by Reps. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, and Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., comes amid mounting discussion on Capitol Hill about the realities of sequestration. House Republicans have claimed that former Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew told Defense Secretary Leon Panetta not to assume a budget deal would be struck in time to fend off sequestration on Jan. 2, 2013.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., recommended a substitute to the Sequestration Transparency Act before its passage by the House Budget Committee. His plan would have directly headed off sequestration for one year through cutting some farm support payments and eliminating tax breaks for major oil companies. Ryan led an effort to strike down that proposal. The bill is slated to come up for a vote this week.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.