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Posts Tagged ‘appropriations’

DOD Needs to Consider ‘Electricity Reliability’ in Project Decisions, Panel Says

  • July 20, 2014
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The military services should account for candidate projects’ impact on “electricity reliability” at installations when making decisions about purchase power agreements, performance contracts and other energy purchases, according to the report accompanying the fiscal 2015 defense spending bill that the Senate Appropriation Committee approved Thursday. The lawmakers commend DOD for its efforts to trim installation energy costs — which total about $4 billion across the department annually — and cited the use of energy savings performance contracts and utility energy service contracts in helping the military save money without the need for upfront federal investment …

Appropriations Panel Blocks Most Cost-Saving Reforms

  • July 17, 2014
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The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved a $490 billion fiscal 2015 defense spending bill that rejects many of the Pentagon’s cost-savings proposals intended to comply with the Budget Control Act spending caps. The measure blocks DOD’s plan to slash subsidies for military grocery stores by $200 million in FY 2015; however, it embraced one of the department’s reforms — limiting housing allowances below the rate of inflation. The plan to slow the growth in the basic allowance for housing would save $8.8 billion in personnel costs over the next five years, according to a committee summary of the spending bill …

Durbin Not Optimistic over Prospect of Avoiding CR to Start FY’15

  • July 16, 2014
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Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) on Wednesday said he hoped the fiscal 2015 defense spending bill could go to the Senate floor and gain approval according to regular order, but he wasn’t particularly confident. Asked if the process of taking up spending bills one at a time was dead, he said, “I hope not, but it looks really tough,” reported CQ. “I’d like to bring it to the floor, I really would. I know it’s a long shot because we had a bad experience with three earlier bills, but I would really like to do that …

Senate Panel Votes to Preserve A-10 Fleet

  • July 15, 2014
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The Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee on Tuesday approved a $490 billion fiscal 2015 defense spending bill that allocates $338 million in funding to keep the A-10 close air support aircraft flying and reject the Air Force’s proposal to retire its Warthog fleet. The Air Force has said eliminating the A-10 would save $4.2 billion over the next five years, but Tuesday’s vote marks the latest indication that Congress will keep the aircraft flying next year. The House Appropriations Committee had embraced the retirement plan, but House lawmakers last month overwhelmingly voted to reverse that decision …

Wittman Tries to Raise the Profile of ‘Readiness’

  • July 15, 2014
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The budget accounts that fund military readiness, operation and maintenance, typically suffer disproportionate cuts when the defense budget needs to be trimmed in the near term because other accounts often are tied up in long-term spending commitments. But while operation accounts are seen as a convenient place to take budget cuts, Virginia Rep. Rob Wittman (R), chairman of the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee, would like to change that perception, especially as the Pentagon needs to cope with steeper cuts in the coming years …

Agencies Likely to Operate under CR at Start of FY’15

  • July 9, 2014
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It appears increasingly likely that the entire federal government will be forced to operate under a continuing resolution at the Oct. 1 start of the new fiscal year. With momentum on a three-bill “minibus” already stalled in the Senate and President Obama’s $3.7 billion emergency funding request to deal with child migrants competing for the short amount of time left on Capitol Hill before lawmakers return home to campaign ahead of the November elections, it’s not clear how any individual spending measures could be cleared by Congress before fiscal 2015 begins, reports CQ …

Window for Senate to Move Spending Bills is Running Out

  • July 7, 2014
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The Senate has four weeks before Congress’ August recess to regain momentum on the fiscal 2015 appropriations process and avoid the need to pass a continuing resolution to keep the government running past Sept. 30. No matter what, lawmakers will need to approve a stopgap funding bill to keep the doors open for most federal agencies at the start of the new fiscal year. But if Senate Republicans and Democrats can reach agreement on a small handful of next year’s appropriations bills, some agencies could get a full-year funding bill prior to Oct. 1 …

Senate Appropriations to Mark up Defense Bill Shortly

  • June 29, 2014
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The Senate Appropriations Committee will mark up the fiscal 2015 defense spending bill on July 17, Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) said last week. Mikulski said she delayed scheduling the markup until Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), the defense panel’s ranking member, could return to Capitol Hill following his primary runoff, reported CQ. Cochran, who is line to replace Mikulski as committee chair if the Republicans gain control of the Senate in the midterm elections, defeated a tea party challenger last Tuesday in a very heated race. Postponing the markup also provides the committee time to consider the Pentagon’s request for the overseas contingency operations account, which it released Thursday.

Power Plant Regulations at Heart of Senate Road Block on Spending Bills

  • June 26, 2014
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An effort by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to block a recent Environmental Protection Agency proposal regulating carbon emissions from existing power plants appears to be at the center of last week’s decision by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to suspend debate on a package of three fiscal 2015 spending bills. And while the two Senate leaders and appropriators are trying to restart the appropriations process, failure to break the impasse could mean that all of the momentum in both chambers to move spending bills according to regular order this year could be lost …

Will Unfunded Milcon Requirements Harm Readiness, Authorization Committee Asks

  • June 25, 2014
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The Defense Department’s fiscal 2015 military construction request is 40 percent lower than it was in FY 2014, prompting the Senate Armed Services Committee to ask the department to assess the risk to readiness it is accepting by deferring many of its construction requirements. The panel said it was worried about the likely impact of curtailing milcon spending on the number of facilities in poor to failing condition, according to its report accompanying the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill. “The committee is concerned that milcon cuts will ultimately lead to lasting negative impacts to our military’s readiness and their ability to effectively respond to crisis abroad and at home …

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