The U.S. House has approved the National Defense Authorization Act for the 2013 fiscal budget year. The bill authorizes $642 billion for the Defense Department which would include Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls.
The House also passed a bill today that would prevent an across the board cut of $55 million that would effect every defense department agency.
The bill would also prevent another round of Base Realignment cuts and, would limit increases to the military health care program.
We reached out to Texas Republican Congressman Mac Thornberry of District 13 who supported the bill.
"Every program, project and activity, those are the words, in the Department of Defense would have to be cut about 10%," said Congressman Thornberry. "So every line item of funding at Sheppard and every other military installation around the country, would be cut by the same amount about 10%"
To replace that $55 million in cuts the bill takes it from entitlement programs like Social Security, Food Stamps and other programs.
Congressman Thornberry said, "We're going to still save the same amount of money, or more but, rather than have these mindless across the board cuts in defense and in other domestic programs, we're going to replace those savings with some reforms of entitlements and it's a variety of programs. One of them is Food stamps but there were a whole bunch of beginning reforms of entitlements that save a huge amount of money. Entitlements are already 2/3rds of the budget, and so just a little tweak can make a huge difference."
Democratic Senate leaders say they will not pass the legislation until republicans agree to include tax increases to pay for some of the cuts.