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Posts Tagged ‘appropriations’

House Votes on Milcon Spending Bill Held up over Reliance on OCO Funds

  • April 29, 2015
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House Republicans postponed debate on the fiscal 2016 Military Construction-Veterans Affairs spending bill on Wednesday evening partially over fears that lawmakers would adopt amendments barring the use of funds from DOD’s overseas contingency operations (OCO) account to escape the statutory cap on defense spending. A series of amendments introduced by Reps. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) would have effectively eliminated $532 million in military construction funds allocated through the OCO, reported CQ Roll Call. 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. But Van Hollen and Mulvaney called the shift of funds from DOD’s base budget to the OCO a “gimmick” to evade the caps …

White House Veto Threats Signal Budget Showdown

  • April 28, 2015
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Veto threats issued Tuesday by the White House on two appropriations bills scheduled to go to the House floor this week, including the military construction–veterans affairs measure, leave uncertain how fiscal 2016 spending measures will go forward this year. The two statements from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) indicate President Obama would not sign any spending bills that follow congressional Republicans’ plan to stick to the statutory spending caps while providing relief only to the Pentagon by stashing tens of billions of additional dollars in its war account. “The president’s senior advisers would recommend that he veto H.R. 2029 and any other legislation that implements the current Republican budget framework, which blocks the investments we need for our economy to compete in the future,” according to the statement of administration policy on the milcon spending bill. OMB issued the same veto threat for the energy-water measure …

House Armed Services to Shift Base Budget Needs to OCO Account

  • April 26, 2015
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The House version of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill will be aligned with that chamber’s budget resolution, allowing DOD to tap the tens of billions of dollars in extra funds stashed in its war account for requirements that ordinarily would be funded in the department’s base budget. “I’m not too wrapped up in the label on the account,” Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said last week before his panel’s subcommittees began marking up the annual policy bill …

Compromise Expected over Procedural Hurdle to Use of Extra Defense Funds

  • April 23, 2015
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House and Senate conferees appear to have reached a compromise over one of the primary sticking points to agreement on a fiscal 2016 budget resolution, a procedural hurdle that could block the Senate from allocating $38 billion in extra funding added to DOD’s overseas contingency operations account (OCO). The Senate’s budget blueprint includes a point of order on spending from the department’s war account that exceeds $58 billion, the original amount requested by the Obama administration. The point of order would allow Senate Democrats or fiscal conservatives to block appropriations from the OCO that exceed $58 billion unless defense hawks can produce 60 votes to override the objection …

White House Missives Reinforce Split with Congress over FY’16 Spending

  • April 22, 2015
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Office of Management and Budget Chief Shaun Donovan on Tuesday criticized the first two fiscal 2016 spending bills moving through the House for adhering to the Budget Control Act spending limits, underscoring the potential for a divisive battle over spending this year, but also setting the path for a possible budget deal to relax the stringent caps. Donovan criticized the military construction-VA spending bill for shortchanging spending to upgrade military bases and veterans’ health care, reported CQ Roll Call. The milcon bill, along with the energy-water measure, is set to go to the House floor next week after gaining approval of the House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday. “The president has been clear that he is not willing to lock in sequestration going forward, nor will he accept fixes to defense without also fixing non-defense …

Milcon Spending Bill Advances in House

  • April 22, 2015
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The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday approved a $76.6 billion fiscal 2016 spending bill for military construction and veterans affairs that provides a significant boost for military construction and family housing after spending on those programs dropped about one-third in the current year. Under the bill, military construction and family housing spending would rise $900 million over FY 2015 levels to $7.7 billion. The House’s proposal, however, still falls short of the Obama administration’s request for $8.4 billion in FY 2016. Milcon funding dropped in the current year as DOD opted to defer a portion of its construction program to fund higher priorities such as operations and readiness …

Appropriations Committee Asks for Detailed Analysis of Infrastructure Needs in BRAC Study

  • April 22, 2015
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Citing its concern about the Pentagon’s repeated calls for a new BRAC round, the House Appropriations Committee directs DOD to provide a comprehensive assessment of its infrastructure needs. “Though the committee is not endorsing or precluding another BRAC round, it is interested in more detailed information that would help lead Congress to make an informed decision on that question,” states the committee report accompanying the fiscal 2016 military construction-veterans affairs spending measure that was released Tuesday …

House Panel Wants to Highlight Opportunities for Shedding Unneeded Facilities

  • April 21, 2015
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In addition to requesting a study that could help determine whether a new BRAC round is required, the House Appropriations Committee directs DOD to submit a report highlighting underutilized facilities out of concern that it is spending significant sums on unneeded infrastructure. “The committee is concerned that Department of Defense officials have stated an estimated 30 percent of defense facilities are in excess of mission requirements, a fiscally unsustainable diversion of scarce resources from readiness,” according to the committee report accompanying the fiscal 2016 military construction-veterans affairs spending measure that was released Tuesday …

House Milcon Panel Calls for BRAC Justification Study

  • April 21, 2015
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The House Military Construction-Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee is directing the Defense Department to conduct a study to determine whether a new round of base closures is necessary, as part of its fiscal 2016 spending bill. The panel directs DOD to report by the end of the year its “initial assessment of excess inventory and cost personnel associated with that,” reported the Tampa Tribune. Florida Rep. David Jolly (R) told the paper he supports the provision calling for a BRAC justification study and isn’t hesitant to consider the administration’s request to hold a base closure round in 2017 …

Budget Conferees Make Case for Pentagon Spending

  • April 20, 2015
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Republican lawmakers highlighted the importance of funding defense programs at the initial meeting Monday of the House-Senate budget conference, signaling the likelihood that the compromise fiscal 2016 budget resolution will satisfy defense hawks. “The world is just more dangerous today than it was in 2011 when we passed the Budget Control Act,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions, a member of the Armed Services Committee. In their budget blueprints, both chambers added $38 billion in spending to DOD’s overseas contingency operations account as a way of sidestepping the statutory ceiling on defense spending in FY 2016 …

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