The House passed a 2005 spending bill that would increase Dept. of Defense construction spending a modest 2%, to $10 billion. But on the House floor, a provision was stripped out that would have expanded the Pentagon's program of using private developers to build housing for military families.

The "mil con" measure, approved July 22 on a 420-1 vote, hikes direct appropriations for DOD family housing by 51%, to $1.6 billion and boosts spending on other defense construction, such as barracks, hospitals and piers, by 6%, to $5.3 billion.


But the House deleted a provision that would have increased the cap on federal contributions to the housing privatization by $500 million, to a total of $1.3 billion. Rep. Chet Edwards (D-Texas) a supporter of the higher ceiling, said that without the increase, plans would be stopped for more than 49,000 housing units at bases around the country.

In the Senate, the Appropriations Committee on July 15 cleared its version of the military construction bill, which also totals $10 billion. Like the House bill, the Senate committee's recommends $1.6 billion for family housing and $5.3 billion for other DOD construction. It doesn't increase the privatization cap.