June 1, 2011
White House Office of Management and Budget
The Administration supports House passage of H.R. 2055, making appropriations for military construction, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2012, and for other purposes. The Administration is committed to ensuring the Nation lives within its means and reducing the deficit so that the Nation can compete in the global economy and win the future.
That is why the President put forth a comprehensive fiscal framework that reduces the deficit by $4 trillion, supports economic growth and long-term job creation, protects critical investments, and meets the commitments made to provide dignity and security to Americans no matter their circumstances.
While overall funding limits and subsequent allocations remain unclear pending the outcome of ongoing bipartisan, bicameral discussions between the Administration and congressional leadership on the Nation’s long-term fiscal picture, a number of problematic policy and language issues have been included in the bill as follows:
Military Construction. The Administration appreciates the Committee’s support for critical Military Construction projects but is concerned with the use of incremental funding that would not support usable segments for the following projects: Aviation Complex, Fort Wainwright, Alaska; Mountainview Operations Center, Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado; Ambulatory Care Center, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland; and Guam Strike Fuel Systems Maintenance Hangar, Joint Region Marianas, Guam. Incremental funding of Military Construction runs counter to sound budgeting principles and fiscal discipline.
Implementation of Force Management Initiatives. The Administration is concerned with the inclusion of two provisions that limit the ability of the Department of Defense to undertake force management actions, including previously approved Base Realignment and Closure actions. The authority to execute these force management actions allows the Department to more efficiently allocate scarce resources during a time of conflict.
Constitutional Concerns. Section 113 is phrased in a manner that could be construed to require the Executive Branch, without discretion, to notify the Congress 30 days in advance of certain military exercises, which would intrude on the President’s discharge of his Constitutional authorities and duties to protect national security. The Administration recommends revising section 113 to make explicit that 30 days advance notice to the Congress is required where feasible and consistent with the President’s constitutional responsibilities to protect national security.
Project Labor Agreements. The Administration strongly opposes the provision prohibiting the enforcement of Executive Order 13502 (and implementing issuances) on the use of project labor agreements. The use of a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) can provide structure and stability to large construction projects. PLAs also help ensure compliance with laws and regulations governing workplace safety and health, equal employment opportunity and labor and employment standards. The coordination achieved through PLAs can significantly enhance the economy and efficiency of Federal construction projects.
The Administration strongly opposes inclusion of ideological and political provisions that are beyond the scope of funding legislation. Should the Congress continue to include language that is not relevant to a funding debate, the Administration will oppose the bill.
The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress as the fiscal year 2012 appropriations process moves forward.