AIA: House Passage of Budget Deal Good for America

Statement by Aerospace Industries Association President and CEO David F. Melcher on the two-year budget deal passing in the House.

Arlington, Va. — AIA is relieved and thankful that the House has passed legislation lifting the Budget Control Act (BCA) caps for fiscal years 2016 and 2017.  The deal provides an additional $50 billion for base defense spending over the next two years and substantial increases in Overseas Contingency Operations funding.  These are significant increases providing badly-needed funds and some measure of stability to the Department of Defense for the next two years.

Military leaders have been sounding the alarm this year about the increasingly chaotic situation in the Middle East and emboldened military actions by Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.  We owe them a debt of gratitude for their candor, expertise and judgment, and also to Congressional leaders who made this increase in funding possible against tall odds.  Without that leadership, fiscal year 2016 would have represented the fifth consecutive year of cuts for a military asked to do more in an increasingly unstable world geopolitical situation.

The agreement should also grant substantial relief for non-defense agencies such as the Federal Aviation Administration, NASA, NOAA, and the U. S. Coast Guard.  These agencies are important for our nation’s public safety, economy, and global stature in science, exploration and aerospace technology.  The FAA needs funds to upgrade its obsolete air traffic control system and respond to the challenge of integrating unmanned aircraft systems into our skies.  NOAA needs funding to improve our prediction of hazardous weather events and help Americans move out of harm’s way with greater notice.

In addition, the agreement paves the way for an omnibus appropriations bill in early December that would avoid the specter of a year-long continuing resolution.  Equally important, in agreeing on new discretionary caps for fiscal year 2017, the compromise package raises prospects for a smoother appropriations process next year, when the nation turns its focus to Presidential and Congressional elections.

We strongly support this legislation and urge the Senate immediately to take up and pass the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 and send it to the President for his signature.