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Posts Tagged ‘automatic spending cuts’

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 …

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 …

Congress Close to Clearing FY’16 Budget Resolution

  • May 3, 2015
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The House adopted the fiscal 2016 conference budget resolution last Thursday, a compromise that strips out a procedural hurdle that could have blocked the Senate from allocating tens of billions of extra dollars included in DOD’s war account. To evade the $523 billion Budget Control Act cap on national security spending, the budget blueprints advanced in both the House and Senate allot $96 billion — including $58 billion requested by the Obama administration and $38 billion in extra funds — to the department’s overseas contingency operations account. That account is not subject to the budget caps …

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 …

Procedural Hurdle to Extra Defense Spending May Not Survive Compromise Budget Talks

  • April 16, 2015
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The compromise version of the fiscal 2016 budget resolution may jettison a procedural hurdle that could block the Senate from allocating $38 billion in extra funding stashed in DOD’s overseas contingency operations account (OCO). The funds were added to the war account in both chambers’ budget blueprints as a way of eluding the $523 billion Budget Control Act cap on national security spending. The Senate’s version, though, includes a point of order on spending from the OCO that exceeds $58 billion, the original amount requested by the Obama administration …

House Panel Advances Milcon Spending Bill

  • April 15, 2015
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The House Military Construction-Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee on Wednesday approved a fiscal 2016 spending measure recommending a $900 million increase to $7.7 billion for military construction and family housing programs over the current year. The legislation passed despite criticism from Democrats that the measure is not fully funded, reported CQ Roll Call. The $76.6 billion spending bill, including the VA component, comes in $4.6 billion higher than the FY 2015 enacted level even though next year’s spending cap for all federal discretionary spending rises only $2 billion …

Authorization Bill Would Allow Pentagon to Use Extra War Funds, Defense Chairs Say

  • April 14, 2015
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The heads of the House and Senate Armed Services committees plan to include language in the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill that would allow defense officials to use funds in the department’s war funding account for base budget operations. The remarks of John McCain (R-Ariz.), Senate Armed Services chairman, and Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), House Armed Services chairman, address the question of whether congressional Republicans’ plan to sidestep the statutory cap on defense spending by adding funds to DOD’s overseas contingency operations account (OCO) will achieve the desired result. The FY 2016 budget resolutions advanced in both chambers would allocate $38 billion more than the $58 billion requested for the OCO account by the administration …

House Panel to Mark up Milcon Spending Bill Next Week

  • April 9, 2015
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House Appropriations subcommittees are expected to mark up two fiscal 2016 spending bills next week including military construction-veterans affairs, reported CQ. With the FY 2016 budget resolutions passed last month by the House and Senate sticking to the Budget Control Act caps for defense and non-defense spending, a combined $1.017 trillion, the allocation for the milcon spending measure shouldn’t vary much from the current year’s level …

Garrison Commanders Grapple with Budget Constraints

  • April 7, 2015
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At a two-day conference for Army garrison commanders and command sergeants major last month, Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary for installations, energy and environment, addressed the challenge of running an installation amid tight fiscal constraints. “We have to weigh risks daily,” Hammack said. “What’s acceptable loss? Compare loss of life to buildings that decay a little faster … grass that grows a little higher? Gen. Halverson and I are okay with the grass growing higher if it means that the troops are trained, ready and properly equipped …

Reliance on War Funding Account Allows Congress, DOD to Postpone Defense Reforms

  • April 6, 2015
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The ability of Congress and the Pentagon to stash spending in the military’s war funding account and sidestep the statutory spending limits sabotages the budget caps’ role in forcing officials to confront difficult decisions, a panel of experts said Friday at an event hosted by the Stimson Center. The department’s overseas operations account is “a budgetary disaster which leads you to expect resources to continue to be available when they probably will not be,” said Gordon Adams, who managed national security budgets at the Office of Management and Budget during the Clinton administration …

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