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Posts Tagged ‘automatic spending cuts’

Avoiding a Shutdown Will Be Highest Priority following Recess, McConnell Says

  • September 2, 2015
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Lawmakers’ primary challenge when they return to Capitol Hill next week will be clearing a measure to keep the federal government open when the new fiscal year starts Oct. 1, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told WYMT in Hazard, Ky., on Monday. McConnell blamed Senate Democrats for blocking action on fiscal 2016 spending bills because they offered budget relief to the Pentagon but not to domestic agencies, reported the Hill. “They prevented us from doing any of the bills that appropriate money for the government, thereby forcing a negotiation when we go back in after Labor Day, which I’ll be engaged in with the administration and others to try to sort out how much we’re going to spend and where we’re going to spend it,” McConnell told the television station …

GOP Source Outlines Possible Opening Offer in Budget Talks

  • September 1, 2015
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When Republican leaders decide to launch negotiations over the fiscal 2016 budget caps with the White House, their opening offer may be to lift the limits on defense spending by $38 billion, while raising the cap on domestic agencies by some lesser amount. Such a plan would offset the extra defense spending by extending the Budget Control Act caps for an additional two years in the 2020s, a source with ties to senior GOP lawmakers told CQ. Any extra domestic spending agreed to would be paid for by increasing the nation’s debt. Republicans would consider only a two-year deal to raise the statutory caps that would go through FY 2017, according to the source …

Pentagon Could Be Stuck with Full-Year CR

  • August 25, 2015
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With Congress still uncertain how it will approve funding to keep the federal government operating in fiscal 2016, one option lawmakers are considering is passing a yearlong continuing resolution (CR), reports Defense News. The Pentagon is used to operating under CRs, which typically fund the government at the previous year’s level for a discrete period of time until Congress can pass a full-year spending bill. Because it locks the department into the previous year’s production levels and doesn’t provide funding for new starts, however, a yearlong CR would disrupt DOD’s procurement plans and contractors’ budgets. “It really creates havoc on programs, projects and activities in the Defense Department,” Todd Harrison, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said of an extended stopgap funding measure …

DOD’s Fiscal Straits Unlikely to Improve, Washington Lawmakers Tell Forum

  • August 25, 2015
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Two Washington state lawmakers offered a downcast outlook for the defense budget and the prospects for Congress to alleviate the Pentagon’s fiscal challenges during last week’s Defense Community Regional Forum at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. Rep. Adam Smith (D), ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee, forecast shrinking budgets, a lack of flexibility from Congress on how DOD can respond to the cuts and a possible government shutdown. “It’s not just that the budget is being reduced, it’s that it’s being reduced in an incredibly unpredictable fashion,” Smith told the audience …

Senate Democrats Urge McConnell to Begin Budget Talks

  • August 21, 2015
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With only limited time available after lawmakers return to Washington next month, Senate Democrats this week urged Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to start negotiations over the fiscal 2016 spending caps immediately. “With the existence of a clear and urgent deadline for action, we believe it would be unwise to wait until after the Congress returns from the August state work period — just 23 days before the end of the federal fiscal year — to begin talks on a path forward,” all 46 members of the Democratic Conference, which includes two independents, wrote McConnell on Tuesday. “We cannot afford to wait, only to let delay and inaction bring us to the brink of another totally predictable and completely preventable crisis …

Prospect of Federal Shutdown Reaches 40 Percent, Expert Says

  • July 29, 2015
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With Republicans leaders resisting President Obama’s latest call for budget talks to resolve the impasse over fiscal 2016 spending, federal budget expert Stan Collender says the chances of a government shutdown have now risen to 40 percent. Of course, the most likely outcome still is a continuing resolution that remains in force until a budget deal can be reached, Collender, an executive vice president at Qorvis/MSLGROUP and a former staffer on the House and Senate Budget committees, said in a blog post. Last month, House Speaker John Boehner had said he was willing to sit down with the White House to negotiate a budget deal, but so far the president had never asked him do so. But after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy last week said he didn’t see “a place currently where they c(ould) come to a conclusion …

Force Reductions to Leave Army at ‘Razor’s Edge,’ Odierno Says

  • July 26, 2015
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The Army’s plan to shrink its active-duty end strength to 450,000 soldiers over the next three years will force the nation to assume a greater level of risk as the number of hotspots across the globe rises, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said Thursday. “With the increased instability around the world, 490,000 is the right number, but we can’t do it,” Odierno said during a visit to Fort Carson. “We don’t have the budget to do it.” The decision to eliminate 40,000 troops was prompted by the discretionary spending caps imposed under the 2011 Budget Control Act. Odierno, who is retiring in August, is hoping lawmakers strike a multi-year deal to raise the spending caps …

Congress to Take up CR in September, Boehner Says

  • July 24, 2015
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Lawmakers most likely will rely on a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government open when the new fiscal year starts Oct. 1, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Thursday. “It’s pretty clear, given the number of days we’re going to be here in September, that we’re going to need a CR of some kind,” Boehner said. The speaker did not address how long he envisioned a stopgap measure lasting, reported CQ Roll Call. “No decisions have been made about that,” he said. “We’ll deal with it when we get back in September …

Democrats Step up Pressure to Negotiate Higher Spending Caps

  • July 22, 2015
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President Obama on Tuesday reiterated his call for Republicans to negotiate higher spending levels for domestic agencies as well as the Pentagon if he is to sign any fiscal 2016 appropriations bills. “I’m calling on Republican leaders in Congress to come to the table with Democrats, sit down, negotiate a budget that protects our national security and our economic security,” Obama said at a VFW convention in Pittsburgh. “I’ve said I will veto any budget that locks in the sequester. It is not good for our country,” he said …

Member-Led Efforts to Solve Sequestration Yield Little in Results

  • July 21, 2015
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Lawmakers regularly tout their participation in behind-the-scenes talks to produce a bipartisan plan to lift the statutory spending caps on defense and domestic spending, but the reality is very little progress has been made, reports CQ. A group led by Senate Armed Services Chair John McCain (R-Ariz.), for example, has been meeting since earlier this year to resolve what McCain said was his number one priority when he took the panel’s gavel in January. Beyond talking, it’s not clear if the group has made any headway. “It would be a good idea,” McCain said of completing a plan. “But first you’ve got to agree on what to put out there. That’s why these endless discussions go on …

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