BRAC Funding Cuts

The U.S. House has passed a multi-billion dollar supplemental spending bill to keep the government running, but it makes cuts in military spending, and both Texas Senators say the cuts could hurt military bases near Houston and elsewhere on the Gulf Coast. Benjamin Shaw reports from Capitol Hill.

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The spending bill would cut $3.1 billion dollars from the Base Realignment and Closure - or BRAC - Fund. How this will impact Naval Station Ingleside, Corpus Christi Army Depot, Ellington Field and other military installations affected by the BRAC process is unclear. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison is concerned.

"There are many projects in Texas and all through the country that are not going to be able to be started until we have some other ability to get that money back."

The Texas Republican says the loss could impact pending changes at Ellington Field and threaten improvements to a rotor blade facility at the Corpus Christi Army Depot, where military helicopters are maintained and repaired.

Under BRAC Naval Station Ingleside and Naval Air Station Corpus Christi are to close - and funding to offset the costs of those closures could be in jeopardy. Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn also criticized the move.

"It just strikes me as the wrong time, if there ever is a right time, to begin cutting money that supplies the basic needs of our military and their families."

Hutchison says she has proposed an amendment to the spending bill that would restore the BRAC funding - but it is unlikely the Democratic Majority in the Senate will allow any amendments. For Houston Public Radio, I'm Benjamin Shaw on Capitol Hill.

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