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House Offers DoD Budget Scalpel Instead of Axe

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Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus meets with U.S. Congressman Howard "Buck" McKeon at the Rayburn House Office Building in January. US Navy Photo

Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus meets with U.S. Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon at the Rayburn House Office Building in January. US Navy Photo

The U.S. House of Representatives revealed a stopgap bill to allow the Department of Defense more flexibility to apply cuts from sequestration, Military Times reported on Monday.

The bill would allow the Pentagon to better tailor the $46 billion in sequestration cuts that would start on March, 27 – the date the current Continuing Resolution is set to expire.

“Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., the House Appropriations Committee chairman, said the bill he has introduced ‘will avoid a government shutdown on March 27, prioritize DoD and veterans programs, and allow the Pentagon some leeway to do its best with the funding it has’,” reported the Military Times.

The bill would provide $518.1 billion for the Pentagon budget as well as $87.2 billion for so-called Overseas Contingency Operations. OCO money provides funds primarily for operations in Afghanistan.

The new bill would give the DoD an additional $10.4 billion in operation and maintenance. The bill proposes to move the money from personnel accounts, research and development dollars and procurement, reported The Hill.

Service chiefs have complained sequestration cuts applied to broadly would hurt readiness and cut deeply into the operations and maintenance accounts of the service.

The Navy is set to face a $9 billion shortfall in Fiscal Year 2013 if the Continuing Resolution endures for the entire Fiscal Year and sequestration cuts stand.