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Posts Tagged ‘appropriations’

Goal of Passing Spending Bills Independently May Be Elusive, Cochran Says

  • January 14, 2015
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The new chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee says he is aiming to pass the federal government’s 12 spending bills for fiscal 2016 individually but concedes chances are good he’ll be forced to bundle some measures to move them through the chamber. “Try as we might, we’re going to end up with some bills grouped together, probably, to expedite the consideration of them all,” Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) told CQ. Cochran also stressed the need to start crafting spending bills early to avoid the need to resort to continuing resolutions and omnibus bills to keep the government open …

Budget Deal Will Be Difficult to Justify, Sessions Says

  • January 14, 2015
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Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services and Budget committees, says the bar will be relatively high for fiscal conservatives to sign off on an agreement to relax the Budget Control Act cap on defense spending. “I believe if people want to raise the defense cap, then they’re going to have to justify it,” Sessions told DefenseNews. “We’re going to have to talk about it, and we’re going to have to go to more than just general rhetoric but specific justifications because it doesn’t do any good to have … the Budget Control Act if we’re not going to adhere to it but [for] a year or two …

Illinois’ Kirk to Head Senate Milcon Spending Panel

  • January 13, 2015
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With Republicans assuming control of the Senate, Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) will chair the Senate Military Construction-Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee in the 114th Congress. Kirk previously had been the panel’s ranking member. Illinois has three major installations — Naval Station Great Lakes, Scott Air Force Base and Rock Island Arsenal. Last week, the committee’s Democrats announced that Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) will be the milcon panel’s ranking member. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), who will serve as the full committee chairman, has not formally announced the cardinals for each of the 12 panels, but the Republican conference ratified the selections, reported CQ. Cochran also will take the gavel for the defense appropriations subcommittee, with Dick Durbin (Ill.) remaining the senior Democrat on the panel.

Montana Senator Named to Top Democratic Spot on Milcon Spending Panel

  • January 11, 2015
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Montana Sen. Jon Tester (D) will be the ranking member on the Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee in the new Congress, the committee’s Democrats announced Friday. Tester fills the opening on the milcon panel created by the retirement of Tim Johnson (D-S.D.). Montana has one major installation, Malmstrom Air Force Base. Another panel getting a new ranking member is Homeland Security, notable because its new top Democrat, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), gave up the opportunity to serve in that capacity on any of the Armed Services Committee’s panels. She had been chairman of the Armed Services’ readiness panel and remains a member of the full committee …

DOD FY’16 Budget Topline to Exceed Spending Cap

  • January 8, 2015
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The Pentagon is expected to request a topline spending level of $534 billion for fiscal 2016, which would exceed the Budget Control Act spending cap by almost $35 billion, according to defense officials and congressional aides. If Congress matches DOD’s request but fails to provide the department any relief from the spending cap, automatic cuts under sequestration would be imposed. Defense stakeholders are eagerly awaiting the Obama administration’s FY 2016 budget request — scheduled to be unveiled Feb. 2 — as it follows a two-year period in which lawmakers offered DOD $31.5 billion in extra spending by lifting the budget caps …

White House to Release FY’16 Budget Request on Time

  • January 7, 2015
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For the first time in five years, the Obama administration will release its budget proposal for the upcoming year by the statutory deadline, the first Monday in February. “We look forward to working with Congress on returning to regular order in the annual budget process,” Emily Cain, a spokeswoman for the Office of Management and Budget, said in a statement on Wednesday. The administration’s pledge to meet this year’s Feb. 2 deadline would allow appropriators more time to review the FY 2016 budget request and hold hearings ahead of Congress’ April 15 deadline for completing a joint budget resolution, reported CQ. The move also would allow lawmakers to begin crafting individual spending measures sooner and help Republicans fulfill their promise to pass the 12 spending bills through regular order …

New Players Mean Budget Deal Remains a Long Shot

  • January 5, 2015
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With new lawmakers heading up the House and Senate Budget committees in the 114th Congress, the likelihood that Congress is able to duplicate the late-2013 agreement that lifted the fiscal 2014 and 2015 defense spending caps by a total of $31 billion appears remote. That deal was negotiated by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), but both are moving to new committee assignments this year. At this point, it’s not entirely clear how their replacements, Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), plan on addressing sequestration. If Congress does not revise the 2011 Budget Control Act, the topline for defense spending would rise only $1.7 billion to $523 billion in FY 2016 …

Quality-of-Life Milcon Projects Shortchanged in Budget, Appropriators Point Out

  • December 23, 2014
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Cuts in the services’ military construction budgets to free up funds for operational readiness are placing the needs of service members in peril as essential quality-of-life milcon requirements such as child development centers, physical fitness facilities and troop housing are going unfulfilled, according to the House and Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations subcommittees. “Deferral of needed QOL [quality-of-life] investment can adversely impact troop readiness and jeopardize the health and safety of service members,” according to the joint explanatory statement accompanying the FY 2015 omnibus spending bill signed into law last week by the president …

Budget Constraints Squeeze Funding for Road Improvements at Growth Bases

  • December 21, 2014
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Transportation requirements at a number of installations, including needs both on-base and outside the gates, are not being met due to severe constraints in military construction funding, according to the House and Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations subcommittees. “This problem is particularly acute on growth installations that serve as host commands for a variety of military departments,” according to the joint explanatory statement accompanying the FY 2015 omnibus spending bill signed into law last week by the president …

FY’16 Appropriations Expected to Follow More Torturous Path

  • December 16, 2014
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The fiscal 2015 omnibus spending package cleared by Congress this past week experienced its share of twists and turns as elements of both parties attempted to remove objectionable provisions, but on the whole its passage represented a mostly bipartisan process that likely won’t be duplicated in the 114th Congress. Negotiations over the “CRomnibus” did not focus on spending allocations because that issue already had been settled last year as part of the budget deal between Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) that relaxed the defense and non-defense spending caps for FY 2014 and 2015 …

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