Wednesday, February 18, 2009

National Security Legislative Wrap-up

Congress is now in recess for the Presidents Day holiday. Before leaving town, it completed action on the President’s $787 billion economic stimulus package. In conference action, it eliminated $1 billion that was to go to the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). In the next few weeks, Congress may deal with the uncompleted Fiscal Year 2009 appropriations measures through an Omnibus appropriations bill (a collection of appropriations bills). This Omnibus bill would include the Department of Energy budget, which contains money for nuclear weapons and is currently being funded at the Fiscal Year 2008 level through a continuing resolution or ‘CR’ that expires on March 6. Congress could also take up a supplemental appropriations bill to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, by the end of February, the White House is expected to deliver to Congress the broad outlines of its Fiscal Year 2010 budget request, although the detailed bu! dget is not expected until April.

KEY 2009 NATIONAL SECURITY BILLS

ECONOMIC STIMULUS PACKAGE

On February 13, Congress approved the President’s $787 billion economic stimulus bill. The House-Senate conferees working out differences between the House and Senate bills knocked out $1 billion that the Senate had added for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), primarily for infrastructure projects. Arms control groups opposed the funding because of a lack of clarity on how the funds would be used and a fear that the money could be used to advance new nuclear weapons.

FISCAL YEAR 2009 OMNIBUS APPROPRIATIONS BILL: ENERGY AND WATER PORTION

On June 17, 2008, the House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee marked up or wrote its annual bill that included $33.3 billion for Fiscal Year 2009. It cut all funds for the Reliable Replacement Warhead and prohibited any spending for the project. It increased nuclear non-proliferation funding by $283 million. The Subcommittee also cut the $302 million requested for the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership to $120 million and restricted the use of the remaining funds; recommended no funding (a cut of $145 million) for the manufacture of new nuclear weapons pits (which are the core of the weapons); and recommended no funds (a cut of $100 million) for the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Facility Replacement. It increased funding for the Global Threat Reduction Initiative from $220 million to $407 million; Non-Proliferation and International Security from $140 million to $185 million; and International (nuclear) Materials Protection and Cooperation from $430 million to ! $609 million. On June 25, the full House Appropriations Committee approved the bill as reported by the Subcommittee.

The Senate Energy and Water Subcommittee completed its mark-up on July 8, 2008 and the full Committee on July 10. The Committee cut the entire $10 million request for the Reliable Replacement Warhead but approved $145 million for plutonium pit manufacturing.

A House-Senate compromise version will be included in the Fiscal Year 2009 Omnibus Appropriations bill.

FISCAL YEAR 2009 OMNIBUS APPROPRIATIONS BILL: STATE, FOREIGN OPERATIONS PORTION

On July 16, 2008, the House State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee approved the Fiscal Year 2009 State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs appropriations bill. On July 17, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved its version of the bill. Both bills provide $36.6 billion in funding and represent the largest component of the Fiscal Year 2009 International Affairs Budget. When combined with the proposed $1.3 billion in funding for the International Food Aid Programs (Agriculture Appropriations) and $300 million for the Global AIDS Fund (HHS-Labor Appropriations), total spending for the Fiscal Year 2009 International Affairs Budget will be $38.2 billion. This spending level represents a $1.6 billion reduction from the Administration's request and a $4 billion increase or 11% increase over Fiscal Year 2008 base spending levels. On June 25, the full House Appropriations Committee approved the bill as reported by the Subcommittee.

A House-Senate compromise version will be included in the Fiscal Year 2009 Omnibus Appropriations bill.

SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS BILL TO PAY FOR THE IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN WARS

The Department of Defense is soon expected to submit to Congress a new request of about $69 billion to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in Fiscal Year 2009. In 2008, Congress approved $68 billion for the wars for the first months of Fiscal Year 2009. This $68 billion is expected to run out sometime in June.

FISCAL YEAR 2010 BUDGET

The White House is expected to deliver to Congress the broad outlines of its Fiscal Year 2010 budget request by the end of February, although the detailed budget is not expected until April. However, there are already reports in the trade press that missile defense funding will be cut by $2 billion and there will be no funding for the Reliable Replacement Warhead. For a preview of the Fiscal Year 2010 request, see the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation’s analysis.

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