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Posts Tagged ‘appropriations’

Congressional Staff Continue to Work toward Omnibus Spending Bill

  • November 5, 2014
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House and Senate Appropriations staffers continue to lay the groundwork for a fiscal 2015 omnibus spending bill to wrap up appropriations though next Oct. 1. But while Republican leaders in the House and Senate favor an omnibus to clear the decks for a GOP-led Congress next January, it’s still not clear whether House Republicans will go along with that approach. With Republicans increasing their House majority and gaining control of the Senate in Tuesday’s elections, conservatives likely will push for a second continuing resolution so they can rewrite bills in the new Congress to reflect GOP priorities …

Republican Control of Congress May Not Result in Raising Spending Caps

  • November 4, 2014
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Despite traditional support from the Republican Party for national defense, the GOP’s predicted capture of the Senate may not result in congressional action to lift the Budget Control Act spending caps on defense starting in fiscal 2016. While Republican appropriators and defense hawks, along with many Democrats, have urged repealing the 2011 law, a deficit reduction deal that satisfies both conservatives and President Obama is unlikely, reports CQ Roll Call. The White House would continue to insist on a deal that relaxes the caps on all discretionary spending, while Republicans would demand concessions to reform entitlement programs …

Republican Leaders Favor Omnibus to Wrap up Spending Bills

  • November 2, 2014
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GOP congressional leaders have indicated they would like to pass a fiscal 2015 omnibus spending bill during the lame duck session so that the 114th Congress can start the year with a clean slate. Party leaders are particularly focused on the likelihood that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will become majority leader in January. “We need to do an omnibus bill funding the entire government for the rest of the year, and get that whole business behind us, so that come January, [McConnell] will have a clean slate rather than looking backwards to old fights [so] we could look forward to making positive changes,” said House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) …

Association Executives Press Levin to Reverse Spending Cuts

  • November 2, 2014
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Two Washington advocacy groups last week wrote Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, urging him to lift spending caps that will harm Army readiness and jeopardize its ability to protect the nation. “The continued effects of sequestration on the Department of Defense will cause the Army, Active, Guard and Reserve to fall into unreadiness,” wrote Gordon Sullivan, president and CEO of Association of the U.S. Army, and Gus Hargett, president of the National Guard Association of the United States. Unless Congress steps in, the 2011 Budget Control Act spending caps will reduce the Army to 420,000 active soldiers, 315,000 National Guard members and 185,000 in the Army Reserve, “the smallest ground forces since 1940 …

DOD Budget Picture Remains Unfavorable, Comptroller Says

  • October 29, 2014
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Congress most likely won’t provide any long-term budget guidance until next spring when lawmakers will need to deal with the expiration of the debt ceiling, Pentagon Comptroller Mike McCord said this week. McCord said he’s not looking for lawmakers to act on the Budget Control Act spending caps when they return to Washington following next week’s elections, reported Defense One. “We don’t really expect that there’s going to be some kind of a budget deal. It doesn’t seem that likely in the lame duck session …

Readiness to Decline again if Spending Caps Remain, Army Officials Warn

  • October 29, 2014
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Senior Army leaders are increasingly concerned about the health of the force, as the department faces new demands and the likely return of sequester’s full impact in fiscal 2016. Unless Congress acts to relax the 2011 Budget Control Act spending caps, the Army’s end strength, modernization and readiness will remain out of balance at least until 2019, Maj. Gen. Gary Cheek, assistant deputy chief of staff for operations, said last week. It could take the Army as long as four years to fully recover from that state, he said. “We would come into that fiscal year with a readiness deficit … that we wouldn’t be able to drop money to fix …

The Trouble with a Full-Year CR

  • October 24, 2014
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While the top appropriators in the House and Senate are pushing for Congress to complete fiscal 2015 appropriations before the end of the year by passing a massive year-end omnibus, many lawmakers may prefer to move a yearlong continuing resolution that simply extends lasts year’s funding levels through Sept. 30, 2015. For some, the appeal of a full-year CR for all agencies would be getting appropriations out of the way so Congress can focus on other year-end business during the lame duck session. Such a move also would provide agencies certainty about their FY 2015 spending. For Republicans, it would be a way to deny Democrats a last chance to see their spending priorities implemented …

If Congress Opts for Spending Omnibus, Compromise over Individual Bills Attainable

  • October 19, 2014
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Lawmakers will only have a narrow window when they return to Capitol Hill next month to decide whether to aim for a massive year-end fiscal 2015 spending package or settle for a short- or long-term continuing resolution, but if they opt for the omnibus, overcoming differences between the two chamber’s individual spending bills should not be particularly arduous, according to an analysis by CQ. Differences between the House and Senate versions for many of the spending bills are no more than $1.5 billion or less. The House and Senate proposals for defense appropriations are only $1.3 billion apart, while competing versions of the military construction-veterans affairs measure are only $400 million apart …

White House to Exceed Budget Caps in FY 2016 Request

  • October 15, 2014
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The Obama administration’s fiscal 2016 budget request will exceed the Budget Control Act spending caps at least for non-defense appropriations, Shaun Donovan, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said Wednesday. In FY 2016 and beyond, Donovan said, “it’s absolutely critical on the non-defense side that we continue to make progress against sequestration, to relieve sequestration, to invest, whether it’s in infrastructure, in research and development, early childhood education, training …

Army’s Top Leaders Chide Congress for Budget Uncertainty

  • October 14, 2014
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The next eight to 12 months will be critical for the future of the military as Congress makes funding decisions that dictate the size of the force and how it is equipped, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said Monday at the annual meeting of the Association of the U.S. Army. Unless Congress steps in, the spending cap for fiscal 2016 will force the Army to slash its end strength far below the level called for in the FY 2015 budget, 450,000 soldiers, Secretary John McHugh said earlier in the day. “If sequestration returns in fiscal ’16 … Another round of indiscriminate cuts will gut the force to the point that we will be unable to meet the president’s defense strategic guidance …

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