House approves Defense Appropriations Act for FY 2014

The U.S. House of Representatives approved the fiscal year 2014 Defense Appropriations Act on Wednesday, a bill that includes funding for critical security needs and military efforts abroad.

H.R. 2397 provides $512.5 billion in non-war funding, a decrease of $5.1 billion when compared to the FY 2013 enacted level and $3.4 billion below President Obama's request. The bill is approximately $28.1 billion above the current level caused by automatic sequestration spending cuts.

"It is always important to remember that our freedom isn't free; our liberties, our rights, and our property are preserved by our national defense - but at a cost," Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), the chairman of the appropriations committee, said. "We've already seen the distressing toll that the heavy-handed, indiscriminate cuts of sequestration have taken on our military, leading to a loss of readiness of our troops and risking our national security."

Approved amendments to the bill include the prohibition of funds from being used to reduce U.S. nuclear forces under the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, the prevention of funds from being used to reduce strategic delivery systems in contravention of the Arms Control and Disarmament Act and the prohibition of funds to conduct an environmental impact study on intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Rogers praised the passage of the bill for its balance between cost-cutting and military support.

"I applaud the passage of this important bill, which strikes a balance between fiscal responsibility and sufficient support for our military," Rogers said. "With this legislation, precious funds are prioritized to advance our missions abroad, to prepare and equip our troops, and to ensure the readiness and effectiveness of our military."

The bill also includes $85.8 billion in war funding for use in Overseas Contingency Operations.