The House voted 250 to 138 to make it easier for the Department of Defense to gain congressional approval of plans to close military bases. The amendment was attached to legislation (HR 4481) to minimize Capitol Hill political pressures in the base-closing process. The Pentagon says up to 10% of the nearly 4,000 domestic bases could be closed without risking national security, at a savings of up to $5 billion annually.
The bill remained in debate.
The issue posed by this amendment was whether Congress should vote advance approval of a Pentagon-prepared list of bases to be closed, or instead could take a passive approach and let the closures occur without benefit of House and Senate record votes.
By adopting this amendment, the House opted for the passive approach, which all sides agreed would be politically less painful.
Amendment sponsor John R. Kasich (R-Ohio) said: "If the House has to move to take positive action to close bases down . . . we make the process of closing bases infinitely more difficult."
Opponent Jack Brooks (D-Texas) said the amendment "pays lip service to the idea of providing a congressional role in the base-closing decision-making process."