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Posts Tagged ‘automatic spending cuts’

Budget Resolution Compromise Troubles Defense Hawks

  • March 17, 2015
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The fiscal 2016 budget resolution unveiled Tuesday by the House Budget Committee charts a delicate compromise between the intense push by defense hawks to raise DOD’s budget above the statutory cap and the desire by fiscal conservatives to stick to the spending limits. The committee recommends exceeding the defense spending cap by $39 billion in FY 2016, but because it relies on the Pentagon’s war funding account and a special reserve fund for the extra money, many defense advocates in the House balked at the proposal, reported CQ. Senate Armed Services Chair John McCain (R-Ariz.), who has campaigned fervently for increased defense spending, on Tuesday said he would consider the plan, even though earlier he had described the use of DOD’s overseas contingency operations account as a gimmick …

House Budget Plan Falls Short, DOD Comptroller Says

  • March 17, 2015
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The approach employed in the House’s draft budget resolution to raise fiscal 2016 DOD spending above the statutory cap may help the department in the short term, but it still would leave defense officials facing uncertainty about the size of their budget beyond next year, Pentagon Comptroller Mike McCord said Tuesday at an industry conference. “I appreciate the attempt to find some way to help us, but I think that we need a better solution than that one,” McCord said. The House’s plan, which relies on inflating the department’s overseas contingency operations (OCO) account to provide much-needed budget relief, could allow DOD to get through the next fiscal year, but it still would leave officials unsure whether “we are going to live with the law, get what we want or have all of our money shoved into OCO …

DOD May Need to Rely on War Account to Make up Budget Shortfall, Thornberry Says

  • March 16, 2015
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If the fiscal 2016 budget resolution fails to provide spending beyond the statutory cap for DOD, lawmakers may use the Pentagon’s overseas contingency operations (OCO) account, which is not subject to the cap, to provide the department more funding, Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, told reporters Monday. There are “a number of options that are being looked at,” he said, reported the Hill. “We’re just going to have to take it step by step and see.” Thornberry told reporters he and other committee members have discussed the possibility of increasing defense spending with members of the House Budget Committee …

No Avoiding BRAC under Budget Constraints, Graham Says

  • March 11, 2015
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A new round of base closures will be needed if lawmakers keep the statutory caps on defense spending in place,” Sen. Lindsey Graham said at a hearing of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee on Wednesday. “At the end of the day, as much as we all love our bases, we’re going to have to address this problem,” Graham said, reported CQ. “And if we want to insist upon sequestration,” he said, “then we’d better be willing to go back home and tell people, ‘You can’t get there from here and every base that’s open today is not going to survive …

Senate Budget Resolution Will Retain Budget Caps

  • March 11, 2015
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The fiscal 2016 budget resolution the Senate Budget Committee is crafting will retain the statutory caps on defense and non-defense spending but include a reserve fund allowing the discretionary spending limits to be raised later in the year. To take advantage of the higher spending afforded by the reserve fund, Congress and the White House would need to strike a deficit reduction agreement ensuring the extra spending is offset either by other spending cuts or revenue increases. The committee also is considering ways to provide much-needed relief to the Pentagon budget, including a plan from Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) to raise defense spending in FY 2016 and 2017 …

Reserve Fund Plan May Draw Necessary Support for Budget Resolution

  • March 11, 2015
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Republican lawmakers have come up with a maneuver that may satisfy both defense and fiscal hawks as the House and Senate Budget committees craft a fiscal 2016 budget resolution, but it wouldn’t solve the underlying dispute over whether Congress will raise the $523 billion national security spending cap. Under the idea that has been discussed, the Budget committees would establish a reserve fund, which would allow the discretionary spending limits in the budget resolution to be raised later in the year as long as the new spending is offset by either other spending cuts or revenue increases, reported CQ. The resolution still would set FY 2016 spending at the Budget Control Act limits …

Graham Pushes for Solution to Sequestration

  • March 11, 2015
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A small group of senators, led by Lindsey Graham, is hard at work looking for a way out of the mandatory caps on defense and non-defense spending. “What we need to do is buy back sequestration. What we’re trying to do is put together a mini Simpson-Bowles deal,” Graham said in reference to the deficit reduction package offered by former Sen. Alan Simpson and former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles. As with that plan, Graham said he would be willing to consider a combination of tax hikes and entitlement cuts, reported the Hill. The prospective candidate to run for president in 2016 said he would offer to close tax loopholes in exchange for reforms to entitlement programs …

Budget Caps Threaten Activity at Fort Hood, Support Group Official Says

  • March 8, 2015
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If Congress fails to provide the Pentagon relief from the Budget Control Act spending caps, Fort Hood will experience “death by a thousand cuts,” the head of the post’s local support group told the Copperas Cove Economic Development Corp. last week. “Fort Hood is an enduring, capable installation,” said Bill Parry, executive director of the Heart of Texas Defense Alliance. “The question is, at what level? …

Army Can’t Keep up with Failing Facilities

  • March 6, 2015
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Army facilities deteriorated significantly following the first two years of mandatory budget caps, fiscal 2013 and 2014, Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary for installations, energy, and environment, told lawmakers this week. Currently, 7 percent of the service’s facilities are failing — including ones housing operating units — and 24 percent are in poor condition, Hammack told the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee on Tuesday. “The challenge is that facilities are failing at a rate faster than we’re being funded …

Strong Push by Defense Hawks Could Force Compromise over Raising Budget Caps

  • March 6, 2015
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The lack of a consensus within the Republican Party over whether to stick with or adjust the statutory spending caps is placing heightened attention on the fiscal 2016 budget resolution each chamber is required to draft. With markups of the resolutions by the House and Senate Budget committees only two weeks away, battle lines between defense hawks and fiscal hawks in the party are becoming increasingly clear. Defense hawks are insisting the Obama administration’s $534 billion base DOD budget proposal for FY 2016 is not high enough — even though it exceeds the Budget Control Act cap by $35 billion — while fiscal conservatives favor sticking with the spending limits as the best way to trim the deficit. Several defense experts interviewed by Politico underscored the heightened support among Republicans for raising the defense cap, but said at this point it’s still too soon to say how congressional leaders will settle on topline spending levels …

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