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Posts Tagged ‘appropriations’

Senate Debate on Authorization Bill Marked by Quarrel over Budget Caps

  • June 5, 2015
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The possibility that Senate Democrats may filibuster the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill loomed over a debate Thursday stuck on the dispute over the measure’s heavy reliance on DOD’s war account to sidestep stringent spending caps. While some Democrats have indicated they will try to stop appropriations measures from advancing in the Senate, they have not yet settled on a strategy for the annual defense policy bill, reported CQ Roll Call. The authorization bill employs the House-Senate budget framework that adds $38 billion to the department’s overseas contingency operations account, which is exempt from the caps, to meet the Pentagon’s base budget request …

Battle Lines Drawn over Commissary Funding

  • June 4, 2015
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The fiscal 2016 defense spending bill approved Tuesday by the House Appropriations Committee would restore $322 million DOD had proposed to cut from the Defense Commissary Agency’s budget as an initial step to scaling back the federal subsidy for military grocery stores. The cuts would force U.S. commissaries to be operated more like a business, forcing them to reduce customer discounts, as well as trim staff, store hours and the days stores are open. The Senate Armed Services Committee, however, adopted the department’s proposal to slash funding for commissaries in its draft FY 2016 defense authorization bill, raising the chances that the two chambers will need to find a compromise when they hash out next year’s defense budget …

Defense Spending Bill Advances in House

  • June 2, 2015
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The House Appropriations Committee approved a $579 billion defense spending bill on Tuesday after rejecting a Democratic attempt to overturn the measure’s use of DOD’s war account to get around the Budget Control Act spending caps. An amendment offered by Rep. Peter Visclosky would have moved $38 billion placed in DOD’s overseas contingency operations account to its base budget. The GOP added those funds to the president’s fiscal 2016 budget request for the war account, boosting it to $88 billion. “The overseas contingency fund has exploded beyond any reasonable measure of what a contingency fund should be,” said Rep. Barbara Lee …

OMB Chief Rips GOP’s Resort to ‘Budget Gimmicks’

  • June 2, 2015
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Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan on Monday reiterated the administration’s concerns about the Republicans’ strategy for bypassing the statutory spending caps by stashing extra funds in the Defense Department’s war account, in a letter to the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. The letter was timed to coincide with Tuesday’s markup of the committee’s fiscal 2016 defense spending bill. Donovan said the administration has “serious concerns about this legislation, which would underfund these important investments in the base budget and instead rely on budget gimmicks that have been criticized by members of both parties. The legislation also includes highly problematic riders and provisions that would preclude needed reforms …

Size of Army to Remain Unsettled for Several Years, Odierno Says

  • May 31, 2015
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Gen. Ray Odierno had hoped the Obama administration and Congress could have settled on a final end strength for the Army by the time he steps down as the Army’s chief of staff this fall, but the issue likely will remain undecided for several more years, he told reporters last week. “I thought by now we would have had that resolved,” said Odierno. “That was a major thing I wish I could’ve had done so the new chief could focus on continuing to move the Army forward, but he’s still going to have to deal with this issue for at least two or three more years,” he said, reported Army Times. The Army already is slated to shrink its active-duty end strength to 490,000 soldiers by Sept. 30, with further reductions cutting the force to 450,000 over the next few years …

Milcon Panel Praises DOD’s Energy Initiatives

  • May 31, 2015
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The Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee commends the Defense Department for its efforts to invest in renewable energy projects and energy security, improve the energy efficiency of its facilities and reduce its energy consumption, according to the committee report accompanying the fiscal 2016 milcon spending bill. Those efforts, along with the department’s programs to enhance water conservation and to improve the security of installation energy sources, are critical components of DOD’s strategy to meet federal goals for reliance on renewable energy and resource conservation …

Services Should Make Water Conservation a Priority, Milcon Panel Says

  • May 28, 2015
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Prolonged droughts in California and other states should serve as “a wake-up call” to DOD to redouble its efforts to manage and conserve water at its installations, according to the Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee. The panel said it was concerned by the prospect of increasingly severe drought-related water shortages, particularly in the West and Southwest. In its report accompanying the fiscal 2016 milcon spending bill, the committee urged the department to take several steps to preserve scarce water resources …

Neither Side Prepared to Make First Move on Spending Cap Deal

  • May 27, 2015
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It’s looking more and more that any negotiations between GOP congressional leaders and the White House over lifting the Budget Control Act spending caps will not start until the new fiscal year approaches. On Wednesday, Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan said the White House has no plans to reach out to Republican leaders as its opening offer was its fiscal 2016 budget request delivered in February. “We’ve actually put our cards on the table, if you will, to say ‘Here’s what we want. Here’s how we would pay for it,’ and the next step really needs to be Republicans coming to the table to say, ‘Here’s our proposal on that …

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 …

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