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Posts Tagged ‘appropriations’

Democrats to Oppose House Authorization Bill over Reliance on OCO Funds

  • May 13, 2015
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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will whip Democrats against the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill over opposition to the measure’s reliance on DOD’s overseas contingency operations (OCO) account to get around the Budget Control Act spending caps. The unprecedented move follows a DOD briefing Wednesday for House Democrats that concluded, “this bill is the wrong bill,” according to House Democratic Caucus Chair Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.). The annual policy legislation typically passes with bipartisan support. Equally surprising was the announcement by Adam Smith (D-Wash.), ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, that he also would vote against the measure …

Lack of BRAC, Extra War Funds Prompt White House Veto Threat over House Defense Bill

  • May 12, 2015
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The White House on Tuesday threatened to veto the House version of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill, citing a host of disputes, including its reliance on the department’s overseas contingency operations account to sidestep the statutory spending caps and its failure to adopt many cost-cutting reforms proposed by the Obama administration. The “Statement of Administration Policy” issued by the Office of Management Budget highlights language precluding DOD from spending funds on a new round of base closures. “This impairs the ability of the executive branch to plan for contingencies or make other needed adjustments that would improve military effectiveness and efficiency,” it states. The department needs Congress to authorize a new BRAC round to “allow DOD to rightsize its infrastructure while providing important assistance to affected communities, freeing resources currently consumed by maintaining unneeded facilities …

Earmark Ban Fails to Slow Lobbying on Appropriations Issues

  • May 11, 2015
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The congressional ban on earmarks has not stopped Washington lobbyists from continuing to work on appropriations bills but it has changed their focus. Now lobbyists are pressing the Appropriations panels to include policy language or establish funding targets, rather than earmarks for specific projects. Clients, for example, may want to make sure certain agency programs are adequately funded so there would be money available for a competitive grant program, Jim Dyer, a lobbyist at the Podesta Group and former staff director on House Appropriations, told CQ Roll Call. In that case, Dyer would ask a committee to set guidelines for the program that are aligned with his clients’ capabilities. “Obviously, it’s a different world than it was 10 years ago …

Budget Differences Put Military at Risk, Top Pentagon Officials Testify

  • May 6, 2015
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Defense Secretary Ash Carter reiterated the administration’s threat to veto legislation that adds $38 billion to DOD’s war account to get around the Budget Control Act spending caps, during a hearing Wednesday of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. “While this approach clearly recognizes that the budget total we’ve requested is needed, the avenue it takes is just as clearly a road to nowhere,” Carter told the panel. If lawmakers stick to the path outlined in the compromise budget resolution adopted by both chambers over the past week, he said, the department again will need to make hasty and drastic decisions by Oct. 1 …

Senators Decry Spending Caps before Passing Budget Resolution

  • May 5, 2015
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The Senate passed the fiscal 2016 conference budget resolution Tuesday, after lawmakers from both parties used the debate to press their colleagues to strike a deal to lift the Budget Control Act spending caps. The budget blueprint adheres to the statutory caps on defense and domestic spending, but to sidestep the limit on the Pentagon’s budget, it stashes $38 billion in extra funds in DOD’s war account, which is not subject to the caps. The House passed the compromise resolution last week. The move sets up a showdown over next year’s budget with President Obama, who has threatened to veto any spending bill that sticks to the statutory caps or provides budget relief to DOD while leaving domestic programs at the capped levels …

Panel Directs GAO to Study Impact of Deferred Maintenance on Readiness

  • May 4, 2015
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In response to concerns over DOD’s policy to stop fully funding facilities sustainment, the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee directs the Government Accountability Office to review the state of the department’s facility sustainment and recapitalization program, according to report language attached to the panel’s portion of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill. The congressional watchdog agency should address: to what extent has DOD met its goals for sustainment and recapitalization of its facilities? what is known about the condition of facilities and the trend in conditions since fiscal 2011 …

Resolution to Budget Dispute Not Coming Soon, Republicans Indicate

  • May 3, 2015
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In the face of calls from the White House for bipartisan talks to lift the statutory spending caps, senior Republicans say any negotiations will need to wait until the fiscal 2016 appropriations process plays itself out. After the White House issued veto threats on two appropriations bills considered by the House last week — including the military construction-veterans affairs spending measure — the Obama administration and congressional Republicans appear to be on a collision course. The statements from the Office of Management and Budget indicated that President Obama would not sign any spending bills that follow congressional Republicans’ plan to stick to the Budget Control Act levels while providing relief only to the Pentagon by stashing tens of billions of additional dollars in its war account …

Congress Close to Clearing FY’16 Budget Resolution

  • May 3, 2015
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The House adopted the fiscal 2016 conference budget resolution last Thursday, a compromise that strips out a procedural hurdle that could have blocked the Senate from allocating tens of billions of extra dollars included in DOD’s war account. To evade the $523 billion Budget Control Act cap on national security spending, the budget blueprints advanced in both the House and Senate allot $96 billion — including $58 billion requested by the Obama administration and $38 billion in extra funds — to the department’s overseas contingency operations account. That account is not subject to the budget caps …

GOP Plan to Rely on OCO Funds to Boost Defense Spending Survives House Vote

  • April 30, 2015
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The House on Thursday passed the fiscal 2016 military construction-veterans affairs spending bill, after a bipartisan effort to bar the use of funds from DOD’s overseas contingency operations account for non-war spending nearly upset Republicans’ plans to rely on the department’s war account to sidestep the statutory caps on the defense budget. Instead, Republican leaders were able to overcome support for three amendments introduced by Reps. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) that would have collectively eliminated $532 million in military construction funding allocated through the OCO. Appropriators added the funds to the department’s war account, which isn’t subject to the Budget Control Act spending caps, as part of the GOP strategy to use the OCO as a relief valve for defense spending that doesn’t fit under the $523 billion cap on national security funds …

Milcon Spending Bill includes Missile Site, BRAC Amendments

  • April 30, 2015
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House lawmakers approved two amendments of interest to defense communities — one that would provide funding for an East Coast missile defense site and one that would prohibit a new BRAC round — as part of the fiscal 2016 Military Construction-Veterans Affairs spending bill the chamber approved Thursday. Language allocating $30 million for the planning, design and construction of an East Coast missile defense site was offered by freshman Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y), whose district includes Fort Drum. Last year, the Defense Department said it would prepare environmental impact statements at four locations, including Fort Drum, N.Y., to determine a potential site to host ground-based interceptors to protect the East Coast …

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