House members will try to kill a special fund for emergency war-related spending in the annual Pentagon spending bill when the House debates it next month.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) said she will offer an amendment to the fiscal year 2012 defense appropriations bill to “transfer the $5 billion Pentagon war slush fund to a deficit reduction.”

She is referring to an “Overseas Contingency Operations Transfer Fund” that President Barack Obama requested and the House Appropriations Committee approved in the legislation. The bill now before the House says this $5 billion pot of money would be “for expenses directly relating to overseas contingency operations by United States military forces, to be available until expended.”

The defense secretary would have to notify the congressional defense committees 15 days before transferring monies out of the fund and into procurement, operations and maintenance, working-capital fund, and personnel accounts. It is intended to address urgent wartime needs, so that military officials can fill them quickly without going through multiple steps of garnering congressional approval.

Lee said during House debate of the appropriations bill last Thursday that she wants the public to know “that there is a $5 billion Pentagon war slush fund just sitting over there.”

“Especially in this time of deficits and a struggling economy, I hope we can all agree that we should not be handing the Pentagon a $5 billion blank check for a war slush fund that has little accountability and runs counter to our constitutional duty to control the purse strings through this Congress,” she argued.

The House is on recess this week and will not take up the defense bill again until after members return to Washington July 6. The House Rules Committee approved an open rule for debate of the legislation that does not require members to disclose their proposed amendments before offering them on the floor. The House has not voted on any amendments yet.

The legislation currently calls for cutting President Barack Obama’s defense budget request by $8.9 billion, down to $530 billion, while boosting the administration’s separate war-funding proposal by $842 million, to $118.7 billion.

The White House’s Management and Budget (OMB) issued a Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) last Thursday saying the administration “strongly opposes a number of provisions” in the $530 billion defense appropriations bill before the House.

“If a bill is presented to the president that undermines his ability as commander in chief or includes ideological or political policy riders, the president’s senior advisors would recommend a veto,” OMB said.

It objected to proposed cuts to the administration’s request for a conventional prompt global strike capability, the Medium Extended Air Defense System, Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellites, the Joint Urgent Operational Needs Fund, and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency science and technology efforts. The White House also balked at the addition of funding for one of Boeing’s [BA] C-17 cargo aircraft in the House bill (Defense Daily, June 24).