Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012
|Long title||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|
|Enacted by||the 112th United States Congress|
- 1 Provisions
- 1.1 Department of Defense and military construction
- 1.2 Department of Veterans Affairs
- 1.3 Related agencies
- 1.4 Additional provisions
- 2 Costs
- 3 Public perception
- 4 References
- 5 External links
The act provided $72.53 billion in non-emergency, discretionary budget authority for FY 2012, a decrease of $1.2 billion from FY 2011 levels. Funding for Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) programs in FY 2012 included $69.5 billion in mandatory spending, equal to the president’s request. The act provided $52.5 billion in advance appropriations for VA medical accounts in FY 2013, an increase of $1.9 billion (4 percent) over the advance appropriations for FY 2012. Including $69.5—billion in mandatory spending (which does not count against the subcommittee’s allocation), the act provided $142 billion in budget authority for FY 2012 and contributed to an overall level of discretionary budget authority of $1.019 trillion for FY 2012 (a reduction of $30.3 billion from FY 2011).
Department of Defense and military construction
Department of Defense construction
The act appropriated $14 billion for Department of Defense (DoD) military construction, family housing and base realignment, a decrease of $4.6 billion (16 percent) from FY 2011. The funding level was $752 million (five percent below the president’s request). According to the Appropriations Committee, the act provided funding for 397 military construction projects in the budget request.
Military family housing
The act provided $1.65 billion for family-housing maintenance and construction, a decrease of $128 million (seven percent) from FY 2011 and equal to the president’s request. According to the committee, the act provided $373 million for the construction of family housing.
NATO Security Investment Program
The act provided $273 million for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Security Investment Program, an increase of $14 million (five percent) from FY 2011 and equal to the president’s request. The program finances installations and facilities needed to support the roles of the two NATO Strategic Commands, including communications and information systems, radar, military headquarters, airfields, fuel pipelines and storage and harbors.
Base realignment and closure (BRAC)
The act provided $582 million for the re-stationing of overseas U.S. military personnel in the United States and base closures, a decrease of $1.9 billion (76 percent) from FY 2011 and equal to the president’s budget request.
Department of Veterans Affairs
Veterans Benefits Administration
The act included a total (mandatory and discretionary) funding level of $69.6 billion for the Veterans Benefits Administration, an increase of $5.1 billion (eight percent) over FY 2011 and equal to the president’s request. Most of the administration’s funds are provided through mandatory spending for compensation, pensions and other benefits established in prior legislation.
Funding provided to the Veterans’ Benefits Administration includes $11 billion in readjustment benefits, which finances the education and training of veterans and service members initially entering active duty on or after July 1, 1985. This funding was an increase of $615 million (six percent) from FY 2011.
Veterans Health Administration
The act provided $53 billion for the Veterans Health Administration, an increase of $1.9 billion (four percent) from FY 2011 and equal to the president’s request. Funding for Veterans Health Administration medical services comes from advance appropriations in previous years. Advance appropriations from previous funding measures for the VA Administration for FY 2012 included $39.6 billion for medical services, $5.5 billion for medical-support compliance and $5.4 billion for medical facilities. The act also contained $52.5 billion in advance appropriations to finance these programs in FY 2013.
The act provided $3 billion for VA information-technology needs at medical facilities, a decrease of $121 million from FY 2011 and $136 million from the president’s request.
The act provided $2.44 billion for VA operating expenses (a decrease of $24 million from the president’s request), dividing operating expenses into two accounts. The administration’s budget request proposed that funding for the administrative expenses associated with the Veterans Benefits Administration and department-wide offices be included in a single appropriation account. The committee recommendation included funding for these functions in two separate accounts: general operating expenses for the Veterans Benefits Administration and general administration.
The act provided $590 million for major VA construction projects, a decrease of $561 million (48 percent) from FY 2011. It also provided $475 million for other VA construction projects, a decrease of $75 million (14 percent) from the president’s budget request.
VA Inspector General
The act provided $52.5 billion in advance appropriations for the Veterans Health Administration for medical services, support and facilities.
American Battle Monuments Commission
The American Battle Monuments Commission, responsible for operating and supporting U.S. military monuments and cemeteries around the world, was funded at $77 million (a decrease of $7 million—eight percent—from FY 2011 and the same as the president’s budget request.
Army cemetery expenses
The act provided $46 million for the operation of Arlington National Cemetery, $1 million more than the previous year.
Armed Forces Retirement Home
The act provided $68 million for the Armed Forces Retirement Home Trust Fund, $3 million below the previous year’s level.
Use of funds
The act prohibited funds from being made available to acquire land, provide for site preparation or install utilities for family housing unless it was made available in appropriations for military construction.
The act prohibited the procurement of steel, unless U.S. producers and manufacturers were able to compete.
Project labor agreements
The act prohibited the use of funds for enforcement of Executive Order 13502, which encourages executive agencies to consider requiring the use of project labor agreements in connection with large-scale construction projects.
Included was a requirement that contractors comply with the E-Verify requirements of Executive Order 12989. E-Verify is an Internet-based system allowing businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States.
Guantanamo Bay detainees
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the act provided $72.535 billion in discretionary budget authority for programs funded through the military construction and veterans affairs appropriations bill for fiscal year 2012.
The act attracted public attention in April 2013 in a case involving a United Nations whistleblower. James Wasserstrom was awarded $65,000 of his $3.2 million suit after a long legal battle with the UN in which he asserted that he was not protected from retaliation. Wasserstrom contacted Secretary of State John Kerry, requesting that the US withhold 15 percent in UN funding according to section 7049(a) of the act: "15 percent shall be withheld from obligation for such agency or organization if the Secretary of State determines and reports to the Appropriations Committees that the agency or organization is not taking steps to ... (B) implement best practices for the protection of whistleblowers from retaliation". The act is notable for ending the ban on slaughtering horses for meat and its "Weldon Amendment": "a physician or other health care professional, a hospital, a provider-sponsored organization, a health maintenance organization, a health insurance plan, or any other kind of health care facility” may refuse abortions, counseling, or referrals, even in cases of rape, incest, or medical emergency".
It has been questioned by the United States Postal Service, since its wording affects the service's decision whether or not to eliminate Saturday mail delivery. The act's continued appropriations assumed six-day delivery.
- 112th Congress (2011) (May 31, 2011). "Public Law 112-74". Legislation. GovTrack.us. Retrieved March 19, 2013.
Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012
- GLADSTONE, RICK (April 8, 2013). "Aggrieved U.N. Whistle-Blower Seeks Withholding of American Funds". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
- Flynn, Hank. "U-N takes no action to protect whistle-blowers". Video Reportages. PressTV. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
- Cowan, Tadlock. "Horse Slaughter Prevention Bills and Issues" (PDF). CRS Report for Congress. Congressional Research Service. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
- LeTrent, Sarah (November 30, 2011). "Horse: Coming soon to a meat case near you?". CNN. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
- Adams, Nathan. "Contraceptive Coverage Mandate Imposes Substantial Burden on Religious Exercise of Individuals and Closely Held Corporations". Religious institutions update: April 2013. Lexology. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
- "Overview of Federal Statutory Health Care Provider Conscience Protections". Civil Rights. US Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
- Bomboy, Scott (March 20, 2013). "Postal Service stuck in middle of budget battle". Constitution Daily. Retrieved 12 April 2013.
- NCC Staff (April 11, 2013). "Postal Service hints at bailout in delaying Saturday service cuts". Constitution Daily. Retrieved 12 April 2013.
- Boston, Claire (April 12, 2013). "Congress thwarts five-day postal service plan". The Maneater. Retrieved 12 April 2013.
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