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House Passes Pentagon Spending Bill

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Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert testifies before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies about the devastating affects of the continuing resolution and sequestration on military readiness. US Navy Photo

Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert testifies before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies about the devastating affects of the continuing resolution and sequestration on military readiness. US Navy Photo

The House passed a full Fiscal Year 2013 spending bill allowing the military more flexibility in programming sequestration cuts on Wednesday, according to several press reports.

The bill includes an additional $ 2 billion more than the Obama administration’s request as part of a $982 billion Continuing Resolution that will keep the government in operation to Sept. 30, reported the Military Times.

The bill funds $518.1 for the base military budget and an additional $87.2 billion for so-called Overseas Contingency Operations. OCO money provides funds primarily for operations in Afghanistan.

The bill sustains the sequestration cuts that will trim about 10 percent from Pentagon ledgers in the current fiscal year. However, the bill will allow military leaders the flexibility to move money inside the budget to prevent across the board cuts that will eat into operations and maintenance accounts. The bill provides the Pentagon an additional $10.4 billion in O&M money for the services.

Navy O&M reductions have already prevented the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group from deploying to the Middle East – reducing the U.S. carrier presence in U.S. Central Command from two carriers to one. The cuts have also called for the reducing the Navy’s presence in U.S. Southern Command by the end of April.

The Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to vote on its version of a spending bill some time this week.