By a vote of 267 to 151, the House on Wednesday passed H.R. 933, a full-year continuing appropriations act for Fiscal 2013 that includes full-year appropriations bills for defense, military construction, and veterans’ affairs. “The House did the right thing today by passing this legislation. As we try to get our fiscal house in order, it’s important to come together on issues,” including “supporting our troops and veterans,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) in a release following the March 6 vote. Nearly all funding in the $984 billion legislation is subject to budget sequestration, states the release. Of that total, the bill provides $518.1 billion in baseline defense funding, $87.2 billion for overseas contingency operations, $10.6 billion for Milcon ($2.4 billion less than Fiscal 2012 level), and $133.9 billion for veterans affairs, states the bill summary. Among the baseline defense funding is: $173.5 billion for operations and maintenance ($1.4 billion less); $127.5 billion for military personnel ($3.6 billion less), including a 1.7% military pay raise; $100.4 billion for equipment and upgrades ($4.2 billion less); and $70 billion for research and development ($2.5 billion less).
The Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness revised the Defense Department’s COVID-19 guidelines. The new rules clarify what’s meant by being “up to date” on vaccinations and when personnel must wear masks in vehicles, among other changes.