Before departing for its summer recess, the House on Aug. 1 passed a $118.7-billion measure to fund Dept. of Defense construction and Veterans Affairs programs for fiscal 2009. It is the first 2009 appropriations bill to clear either chamber and may be the last. Lawmakers are expected to fold most of the 2009 spending measures into a continuing resolution after they return in September. In the Senate, the Appropriations Committee approved a $119.8-billion milcon-VA bill on July 17.

The House-passed bill would allot $24.8 billion to DOD construction, up 20% from 2008’s enacted level. That includes $9.1 billion for the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure round, a 24% boost from 2008. VA major and minor construction would get $1.9 billion, up $215 million from 2008.