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Posts Tagged ‘appropriations’

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 …

Budget Differences Put Military at Risk, Top Pentagon Officials Testify

  • May 6, 2015
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Defense Secretary Ash Carter reiterated the administration’s threat to veto legislation that adds $38 billion to DOD’s war account to get around the Budget Control Act spending caps, during a hearing Wednesday of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. “While this approach clearly recognizes that the budget total we’ve requested is needed, the avenue it takes is just as clearly a road to nowhere,” Carter told the panel. If lawmakers stick to the path outlined in the compromise budget resolution adopted by both chambers over the past week, he said, the department again will need to make hasty and drastic decisions by Oct. 1 …

Senators Decry Spending Caps before Passing Budget Resolution

  • May 5, 2015
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The Senate passed the fiscal 2016 conference budget resolution Tuesday, after lawmakers from both parties used the debate to press their colleagues to strike a deal to lift the Budget Control Act spending caps. The budget blueprint adheres to the statutory caps on defense and domestic spending, but to sidestep the limit on the Pentagon’s budget, it stashes $38 billion in extra funds in DOD’s war account, which is not subject to the caps. The House passed the compromise resolution last week. The move sets up a showdown over next year’s budget with President Obama, who has threatened to veto any spending bill that sticks to the statutory caps or provides budget relief to DOD while leaving domestic programs at the capped levels …

Panel Directs GAO to Study Impact of Deferred Maintenance on Readiness

  • May 4, 2015
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In response to concerns over DOD’s policy to stop fully funding facilities sustainment, the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee directs the Government Accountability Office to review the state of the department’s facility sustainment and recapitalization program, according to report language attached to the panel’s portion of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill. The congressional watchdog agency should address: to what extent has DOD met its goals for sustainment and recapitalization of its facilities? what is known about the condition of facilities and the trend in conditions since fiscal 2011 …

Resolution to Budget Dispute Not Coming Soon, Republicans Indicate

  • May 3, 2015
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In the face of calls from the White House for bipartisan talks to lift the statutory spending caps, senior Republicans say any negotiations will need to wait until the fiscal 2016 appropriations process plays itself out. After the White House issued veto threats on two appropriations bills considered by the House last week — including the military construction-veterans affairs spending measure — the Obama administration and congressional Republicans appear to be on a collision course. The statements from the Office of Management and Budget indicated that President Obama would not sign any spending bills that follow congressional Republicans’ plan to stick to the Budget Control Act levels while providing relief only to the Pentagon by stashing tens of billions of additional dollars in its war account …

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