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Posts Tagged ‘appropriations’

Construction Projects Need to Consider Potential for Coastal Erosion, Milcon Panel Says

  • May 26, 2015
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The Defense Department should consider the potential for coastal erosion and flooding risks in the siting of proposed military construction projects, according to the Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee. The committee notes that coastal erosion is a growing concern of DOD and points to a 2014 report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) which looked at 15 existing sites at defense installations in the United States that are vulnerable to coastal erosion. “The GAO noted that DOD officials are concerned that increased erosion on the Alaskan coast threatens several Air Force radar early warning and communication installations,” the committee says in its report accompanying the fiscal 2016 milcon spending bill. “Furthermore, Navy officials are concerned that if a storm surge occurs while a submarine is undergoing maintenance while sitting in a dry dock, the damage would be substantial and costly.” The Appropriations Committee passed the FY 2016 milcon spending bill last week.

Heightened Security Could Exacerbate Traffic Woes outside Bases, Panel Says

  • May 25, 2015
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Constraints on military construction funding are hampering the ability of DOD to address traffic congestion on the roads leading to a number of U.S. installations, including those that have experienced significant population growth due to BRAC, according to the Senate Military Construction and Veteran Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee. The constraints are limiting the ability of DOD to fund urgent defense access roads and entry control point projects at installations coping with growth due to BRAC as well as those serving as host commands for a wide variety of military services and agencies, the panel says in its report accompanying the fiscal 2016 milcon spending bill …

Senate Democrats Promise Rough Going on Appropriations

  • May 25, 2015
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Senate Democrats will participate in committee work on fiscal 2016 spending legislation but once the bills move to the floor, the party will block them from advancing, Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, vowed last week. “Unless there is a new [spending] agreement before these bills come to the floor, we will vote against the motion to proceed,” Mikulski said Thursday after the panel approved its first spending bill of the year. The gambit is designed to pressure Republicans to negotiate on a new budget deal to raise the statutory spending caps …

Senate Committee Advances Milcon Funding Bill

  • May 21, 2015
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The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved a fiscal 2016 spending bill that would provide $8.1 billion for military construction and family housing programs, representing a $1.3 billion boost over current year funding and a significant step toward restoring milcon funding to levels allocated as recently as FY 2014. Spending on military construction programs dropped about one-third in the current year as DOD opted to defer a portion of its construction program to fund higher priorities such as operations and readiness. The House also voted to increase milcon spending, but only to $7.7 billion. Both chambers’ spending bills fall short of the president’s request for $8.4 billion in FY 2016 …

Senate Milcon Bill Surpasses House Panel’s Spending Recommendation

  • May 20, 2015
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Spending on military construction and family housing programs in fiscal 2016 would rise $1.3 billion over current year funding to $8.1 billion, under the spending bill marked up Tuesday by a Senate Appropriations subcommittee. The milcon spending level recommended by the Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee would be $400 million higher than the amount included in the appropriations bill passed by the House on April 30. Both versions, though, take a significant step toward restoring milcon funding to levels allocated as recently as FY 2014. Spending on military construction programs dropped about one-third in the current year as the department opted to defer a portion of its construction program to fund higher priorities such as operations and readiness …

House Defense Spending Bill Employs Extra Funds

  • May 19, 2015
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DOD would receive $579 billion in discretionary spending in fiscal 2016, an increase of $24.4 billion above the current level and $800 million above the president’s request, under the draft defense spending bill unveiled Tuesday by the House Appropriations Committee. The spending bill takes advantage of $88 billion included in DOD’s overseas contingency operations account under the budget resolution adopted by the House and Senate. That represents the department’s share of the $96 billion in funds allocated to the OCO account to elude the Budget Control Act cap on defense spending. The administration had requested only $58 billion for the war account …

Authorization Bill Passes in House despite Democratic Opposition

  • May 17, 2015
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House Republicans overcame an uncharacteristic lack of Democratic support on Friday to pass the chamber’s fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill, 269-151. The opposition from Democrats did not stem from significant differences over defense programs but, rather, from the effort by the party, along with President Obama, to fight the legislation’s reliance on DOD’s overseas contingency operations account to evade the statutory spending caps. The legislation, H.R. 1735, would authorize DOD to spend $38 billion on operations and maintenance needs that ordinarily would be funded in the department’s base budget …

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 …

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