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Posts Tagged ‘appropriations’

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 …

Retirement of Longtime Appropriator Could Prompt House Milcon Chair to Shift Panels

  • October 13, 2014
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Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas), chair of the House Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee, is considered one of the two leading candidates to head up the panel that funds law enforcement, science and manufacturing programs following the retirement of Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) at the end of the year. The other candidate, Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), would have seniority over Culberson. Republican appropriators, however, don’t always follow full-committee seniority in making leadership decisions …

President, House Democrats Highlight Dangers of Sequestration

  • October 8, 2014
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During a rare visit to the Pentagon, President Obama on Wednesday warned about the deleterious impacts of the 2011 Budget Control Act spending caps on national defense, underscoring the need “to make sure that Congress is working with us to avoid, for example, some of the draconian cuts that are called for in sequestration.” Obama added that lawmakers need to ensure the military has “the equipment and the technology that’s necessary for them to be able to succeed at their mission,” reported the Hill. “We have done some enormous work, and I want to thank everybody sitting around this table to continue to make our forces leaner, meaner, more effective, more tailored to the particular challenges that we’re going to face in the 21st century …

Rock Island Arsenal Vulnerable to Sequestration, McHugh Says

  • October 7, 2014
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Army Secretary John McHugh on Tuesday said the Army appreciates efforts by area leaders and elected officials to support Rock Island Arsenal, Ill., but warned Quad City officials that defense spending caps slated to be imposed starting in fiscal 2016 could force cutbacks at the facility. If Congress fails to relax the caps, “we’re going to be enormously challenged to maintain the kinds of programs that you see here. Less money means even fewer items bought, fewer items manufactured,” McHugh said following a tour of Rock Island. “We need to get that fixed …

War Spending Account Solves DOD Budget Problems for Now

  • October 6, 2014
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The OCO account is exempt from the Budget Control Act caps on defense spending and with the estimated cost of operations in Iraq and Syria ranging from $2.4 billion to $18 billion annually, it’s the easiest solution to the Pentagon’s budget crunch, analysts say. “There is currently no limit on OCO, so there is as much room as they need,” Todd Harrison, a defense budget senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, told Stars and Stripes. Relying on the OCO has the obvious benefit of avoiding the need to shoehorn the cost of the war into the department’s base budget …

Work Upbraids Congress over Opposition to Cost-Saving Reforms

  • October 1, 2014
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The almost universal rejection by lawmakers of a series of belt-tightening reforms to military compensation and weapons systems retirements proposed by the Pentagon will create an estimated $70 billion hole in its five-year budget, Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work told the Council on Foreign Relations this week. The department’s fiscal 2015 budget called for slashing the subsidy for commissaries and slowing increases in the basic allowance for housing, along with retiring its fleet of A-10 close air support aircraft and other weapons. “These were what we considered to be pretty reasonable approaches, but Congress said ‘No …

Ryan Sets Sights on ‘Medium’ Budget Deal

  • September 30, 2014
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A “grand bargain” budget agreement replacing the existing Budget Control Act spending caps with alternate deficit reduction measures most likely is off the table for the remainder of the Obama presidency, but a smaller-scale deal may be possible, says Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Budget Committee. Ryan blames Obama’s unwillingness to consider wholesale reform of entitlement programs for the failure of Congress and the administration in recent years to reach a deal to get the nation’s debt under control. As a result, he is abandoning his pursuit of a comprehensive deficit reduction agreement …

House Republicans Question Defense Cuts amid Renewed Mideast Operations

  • September 29, 2014
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Senior House Republicans are questioning how the Pentagon can adhere to the 2011 Budget Control Act spending caps at the same time it is forced to respond to the rise of the Islamic State and other missions around the globe. On Monday, House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said the defense spending cap slated to be imposed in fiscal 2016 would create a challenge as the nation opposes the Islamic State, reported the Hill. “I don’t think sequestration and increased efforts in Syria, in Iraq are compatible,” Rogers said …

Budget Caps, Global Demands Jeopardize Army Response

  • September 21, 2014
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The fiscal 2016 budget Pentagon officials currently are working on could represent a “breaking point” if Congress fails to extend relief to the budget caps at the same time global threats continue to surface, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno told reporters Friday. The active Army, which now stands at 510,000 soldiers, is slated to drop to 490,000 by the end of FY 2015, 470,000 by FY 2016 and 420,000 by FY 2019. Earlier this year, Odierno testified that a reduction to 450,000 would pose a significant security risk, while an end strength of 420,000 would prevent the Army from carrying out its current strategy …

CR Headed to President following Senate Approval

  • September 18, 2014
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A continuing resolution to fund the federal government through Dec. 11 is heading to the White House for President Obama’s signature, after the Senate on Thursday passed the stopgap by a 78-22 vote during a relatively uneventful session. The fiscal 2015 spending measure also includes the president’s request for authorization to arm and equip Syrian rebels to fight the Islamic State. The Senate did not, however, hold a separate vote on the language since the House already added it to the bill Wednesday as an amendment. Still to be determined when lawmakers return to Capitol Hill following the midterm elections is how they will fund agencies for the remainder of the fiscal year …

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