House and Senate negotiators have reached agreement on a $124.3-billion spending package, which includes $99.5 billion for the U.S. military to fight the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and also several billion dollars for military and civil construction. But the measure faces a veto from President Bush, who objects to provisions setting a timetable for beginning to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq.
If the bill is vetoed, the measure's supporters are unlikely to get the two-thirds majority needed in each house of Congress to override the President's action. While lawmakers are expected to approve funds for the troops, and at least some of the construction money, it's unclear when that will happen.
The emergency supplemental measure, on which House and Senate conferees reached agreement April 23, includes $1.7 for military construction and $3.1 billion to continue the current round of defense base realignments and closures. Much of the past funding for base closures has gone for building new facilities at posts gaining personnel from installations on the shutdown list.
In addition, the package has $1.3 billion for the Corps of Engineers for further work on levees and pumps around New Orleans, as the area's long rebuilding from Hurricane Katrina continues.
Other items in the legislation are $458.5 million in grants to seaports, transit systems and states to improve security, and $978 million for aviation security, including funds to install explosive-detection equipment at airports.
The Dept. of Veterans Affairs health-care system would receive $1.8 billion, with some of that money expected to go for construction.
Lawmakers also attached provisions to raise the federal minimum wage and provide small businesses with $4.8 billion in tax incentives.