Defense Spending Bill, Continuing Resolution Clear Congress
On December 16, the House passed, 395-34, the FY2010 Defense spending bill (H.R. 3326). The Senate passed the measure, 88-10, on December 19. The House approved its version of the bill on July 30 (see The Source, 7/31/09); the Senate passed its version on October 6 (see The Source, 10/9/09). The president is expected to sign the bill into law.
The FY2010 Defense appropriations bill provides $636.6 billion for FY2010. This amount is $11 billion over FY2009, $3.8 billion below President Obama’s request, and equal to the House- and Senate-passed bills.
According to the House Appropriations Committee summary, measure would provide $29.2 billion for the Defense Health Program, which provides health care for service members and their families. That amount is $3 billion over FY2009, $1 billion over the president’s request, $691 million less than the House bill, and $889 million more than the Senate bill.
The Centers of Excellence at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, as well as the Peer-Reviewed Cancer Research Program are funded within the Defense Health Program. Both initiatives provide service members with advanced medical care for, and conduct research on, breast and gynecological cancers, among other illnesses.
The bill provides $472.4 million for family advocacy programs, which, among other services, provide child care, job training for military spouses, and “expanded counseling and outreach to families experiencing the separation and stress of war.”
The legislation contains several non-defense related provisions, including $400 million to cover increased state expenses related to the administration of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp program. The bill also provides “such sums as necessary” to ensure that the program has “sufficient funding to meet the growing demand for nutrition assistance from modest-income families.”
The bill prohibits the Department of Health and Human Services from publishing new federal poverty guidelines until March 1, 2010. In order to prevent a reduction in eligibility for means-tested programs, such as Medicaid, SNAP, and child nutrition programs, the current guidelines, which the department issued on January 23, will remain in effect until the new guidelines are published.
Expanded unemployment benefits will be extended through February 28, 2010.
On December 16, the House passed, by voice vote, H. J. Res. 64, a resolution to continue FY2009 appropriations for programs within the Department of Defense until December 23. The Senate approved the continuing resolution (CR), by voice vote, on December 19. The current CR (P.L. 111-88) will expire on December 18.