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Case's House Appropriations Committee Advances Bill to Provide $1.0 Billion More to Address Red Hill Crisis

The $762 Billion Fiscal Year 2023 Defense Funding Measure Also Includes Case's Requested $6 billion in Support for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative To Increase Our National Defense and Presence in the Indo-Pacific

(Washington, DC) – Congressman Ed Case (HI-01) has announced approval by his U.S. House Committee on Appropriations today of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 Defense funding bill, the first of twelve bills that will collectively fund the federal government for FY 2023 (commencing October 1, 2022).

The FY 2023 Defense Appropriations bill proposes to fund $762 billion for federal agencies and programs in the Department of Defense (DoD) and Intelligence Community, including the military branches of services, the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency.

“My Committee on Appropriations is continuing its full support of our efforts to respond directly on multiple fronts to the Red Hill crisis,” said Case, a member of the Committee. “The Committee included my request to create a $1 billion Red Hill Recovery Fund to fix, defuel and close Red Hill as safely and quickly as possible, continue to address the continuing health and other concerns of affected residents, and restore our aquifer. Additional funds will be provided through the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies bill later this week.” 

The $1.0 billion proposed for FY 2023 Defense Appropriations bill comes on top of $1.1 billion secured by the Hawai‘i Congressional delegation on an emergency basis earlier this year for current  FY 2022.

The Committee also included provisions requested by Case to improve the oversight of the military’s actions regarding Red Hill. The military would be required to submit quarterly reports to Congress on its actions to comply with the State of Hawaii’s regulatory rulings, address the individual health care needs of service members and their families that were affected by the crisis, improve water quality testing surrounding the facility, improve efforts to engage with the community, and move the fuel to other locations in the Indo-Pacific. 

Additionally, the Committee supported Case’s effort to expand and improve the military’s engagement with local community throughout Hawai‘i. The Committee directed the Secretary of Defense to work with the Governor of Hawai‘i to help address the disconnect between the services and various communities in Hawai‘i.

Furthermore, the bill included Case’s requested funding for various national programs to assist the military in efforts to support local communities, including $70 million for Impact Aid education programs, $175 million for the Readiness and Environmental Protection Initiative (REPI) that protects environmentally sensitive lands, $293 million to remediate contaminants and military munitions remaining from past activities at active military installations and formerly used defense sites, and $130 million above the President’s request for programs like the National Guard Youth Challenge and Starbase to help troubled youths. All of these programs are fully utilized by the military in Hawai‘i.

“The military must foster a better relationship with the local community to repair the damaged trust caused by Red Hill and build the support needed for various defense initiatives in our state,” said Case.

“A positive relationship between the military and the people of Hawai‘i is needed to prepare and respond to the threats posed by China, Russia and North Korea in the Indo-Pacific.”

The measure also supports the President’s $6.1 billion request for various elements of the Pacific Deterrence Initiative (PDI), which bolsters deterrence and maintains our competitive edge in the Indo-Pacific in recognition of threats posed by China and the need to preserve a free and open Indo-Pacific. A key component of the PDI for FY 2022 is $374 million for the missile defense of Guam, which faces threats from ballistic, hypersonic and cruise missiles. More importantly, more funds are directed for exercises and activities with our partners and allies in the region.

Programs and provisions requested and secured by Case include:

  • Funding for two SSN-774 Virginia Class attack submarines, which are critical to protecting the Indo-Pacific and will be maintained at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard.
  • $293 million for Environmental Restoration, Formerly Used Defense Sites, which is $65 million over the President’s budget request. These funds will help accelerate efforts to remove unexploded ordnance and discarded military munitions in Hawai‘i and throughout the nation.$150 
  • $150 million for the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, which maintains large scientific laboratories at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
  • The Appropriations Committee again blocked efforts to change the command and control structure of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. There have been efforts within the department to streamline control of forces under one command structure, which would limit the ability of Navy forces in Hawai‘i to respond quickly to changing threats in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Retention of the military contracting preference language for Native American tribes and Native Hawaiian Organizations.
  • $160 million for the X-Band Radar, which will help defend Hawai‘i from ballistic missile threats as the DoD pauses funding for Homeland Defense Radar-Hawai‘i and conducts a large study to reassess how to best protect Hawai‘i from missile attacks.
  • $175 million for REPI, which is $8 million over the President’s request. The DoD created the REPI Program in response to land development and loss of habitat in the vicinity of or affecting military installations, ranges and airspace that can lead to restrictions or costly and inadequate training and testing alternatives. Through REPI, DoD works with state and local governments, conservation organizations and willing private landowners to address these challenges to the military mission and the viability of DoD installations and ranges. For 2022, REPI will provide $19.2 million for three projects in Hawai‘i, which will be coupled with $15.1 million in partner contributions.
  • $11 million for the Asia Pacific Regional Initiative, a key program supporting U.S. IndoPacific Command. This program enables the military to execute Theater Security Cooperation activities, such as humanitarian assistance and paying incremental personnel costs of training and exercising with foreign security forces. The initiative is a critical tool for the U.S. military to strengthen relationships throughout the Indo-Pacific region.
  • $1.1 billion for the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP), including $583.5 million for cancer research. The CDMRP fills research gaps by funding high impact, high risk and high gain projects that other agencies may not venture to fund.

The measure also includes:

  • $479 million to fully implement the recommendations of the Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment. In addition, the bill provides $47 million for the Special Victims’ Counsel program.
  • $2.5 billion in investments in clean energy and climate adaptation to protect facilities, readiness, and global security
  • Full funding necessary to support the proposed 4.6 percent military pay raise.
  • $300 million for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, as requested. This is in addition to $6 billion for the Initiative, and $9 billion to replenish United States stocks of equipment sent to Ukraine, provided by the Additional Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act.
  • Supports working families by requiring contractors to pay a $15 minimum wage.

Overall, the FY 2023 Defense Appropriations bill reflects a modest increase over last fiscal year’s funding measure, an increase endorsed by the Secretary of Defense, and is in line with President Biden’s budget request.

Case’s Appropriations Committee is responsible for allocating some $1.6 trillion in funding to federal government agencies, departments and organizations on an annual basis through twelve separate bills.

The Defense Appropriations funding bill now moves onto the full House of Representatives for consideration.

A summary of the bill is here.