Legislation to provide $10.4 billion for construction has passed the House and a similar measure with slightly less new construction aid has cleared the Senate Appropriations Committee, but the outlook for the construction money is tied to related bills that would provide further funds for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The House rejected its war-funding measure, but the Senate panel cleared its version. The tangled picture should become clearer after the congressional Memorial Day break.
In a flurry of activity on the bills on May 15, the House approved a non-war supplemental that includes $5.8 billion for flood control improvements in Louisiana and $4.6 billion for Dept. of Defense construction. But the House defeated a $162.5-billion war-funding measure.
In the Senate, the Appropriations Committee on May 15 cleared a group of three measures. The one that most affects construction includes $3.1 billion for DOD projects, in Iraq, Afghanistan and the U.S., plus the $5.8 billion for levee improvements and other flood control work in Louisiana.
That amendment also contains $437 million for work at Dept. of Veterans Affairs polytrauma rehabilitation centers and $451 million to the Federal Highway Administration to reimburse 21 states for road and bridge repair costs incurred after storms and other natural disasters since 2005.
Another amendment that the committee approved has $99.5 billion for DOD for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
The White House has threatened a veto if the legislation goes beyond funding the war efforts.