Support our mission

WASHINGTON — The $787 billion stimulus bill signed into law Tuesday includes billions in funding for Department of Defense projects, but not quite as much as some military officials had hoped.

Department of Defense officials had submitted ideas for billions in construction and repair projects to Congress last month at lawmakers’ request for potential job-creating projects to be included in the stimulus package.

But House and Senate negotiators cut more than $2 billion in housing construction and $2.3 billion in new military medical facilities initially favored by lawmakers as part of the final compromise, which passed Congress last week.

In a single decision the Army saw $600 million in new recruit barracks projects erased at the negotiating table.

Another $300 million for base closure work was dropped as well.

Reserve officials were promised $190 million for construction projects in the House’s initial version of the bill but received none of that funding in the end.

Still, the Defense Department will receive more than $6 billion for new construction and maintenance projects through the legislation, and another $3.6 billion for alternative energy research and development.

Pentagon officials have a month to identify exactly when and where that money will be spent, but at least $1.3 billion will be set aside for construction of new military hospitals and another $240 million for building new child care centers at military bases.

Lawmakers also specified $114 million for Army and Air Force family housing, to meet the growing need for better accommodations around bases.

And Congress created a $550 million fund to offset real-estate losses for wounded military personnel and the families of troops killed in action.

The program, known as the Homeowners Assistance Fund, is already in place for troops forced to sell their homes because of base closings.

The new provisions would apply to homes bought before July 1, 2006, and sold at a loss before Sept. 30, 2012.

In a statement after the House’s passage of the measure, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton, D-Mo., called the defense projects "so very important to our military personnel and their families" and praised their potential to help strengthen the economy and the services.

Beyond the defense funds, the stimulus package also includes nearly $1.2 billion for construction of new veterans hospitals and medical facilities and another $50 million for memorial repair and renovations.

Individuals receiving veterans retirement or disability benefits will also receive a one-time payout of $250 through the measure.


Stripes in 7



around the web


Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up