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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

House Leaders Try to Steer Conservatives from Shutdown Path

  • August 28, 2015
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House Republicans continue to search for a strategy to placate conservative lawmakers intent on defunding Planned Parenthood without risking the second government shutdown in three years. GOP leaders’ preferred response to a series of undercover videos of Planned Parenthood executives discussing the sale of fetal tissue would be to build bipartisan opposition by conducting multiple congressional investigations, reports Politico. But a group of 18 House Republicans want to deny funding to the group during the fiscal 2016 appropriations process, a move that likely would not get past the Senate, let alone President Obama. The conservatives, led by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), say shutting down the government is not their intention, yet they are not afraid if that is the ultimate outcome …

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 …

Kansas Lawmakers Decry Planning Effort to Move Detainees to Ft. Leavenworth

  • August 18, 2015
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Members of Kansas’ congressional delegation have criticized the Pentagon’s decision to assess the feasibility of housing detainees at Fort Leavenworth now held at Guantánamo Bay as it drafts a formal plan for closing the controversial detention center. Defense officials last week traveled to the post in northeastern Kansas; they plan to visit the Naval Consolidated Brig in Charleston, S.C., shortly. The surveys are part of the “ongoing effort to identify locations within the United States that can possibly facilitate military commissions and can possibly hold detainees currently at GTMO,” a DOD spokesman told the Voice of America. DOD will consider a variety of “military and civilian sites” to determine whether they can hold the law of war detainees “in a humane and secure manner,” according to the spokesman. “Only those locations that can hold detainees at a maximum security level will be considered …

Pentagon Launches New Review to Streamline Management Structure

  • August 11, 2015
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Defense officials will be developing a plan to trim the supervisory workforce within the office of the secretary of defense and associated defense agencies and field activities, following a recent directive from Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work. The initiative, which is specifically aimed at “rationalizing and delayering” the management structure at DOD headquarters, represents the department’s latest reform effort to slash overhead spending. The DCMO will form a team of subject matter experts to work with affected organizations “to conduct a review of supervisory ratios and spans of control; create standardized frameworks; and develop implementation plans for the to-be rationalized organization in compliance with staff reduction requirements …

Quick Agreement over CR Needed to Avoid Shutdown following Hectic September

  • August 11, 2015
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A busy September for Congress punctuated by debate over the Iran nuclear deal, high-priority highway and cybersecurity bills, and the pope’s visit likely will result in lawmakers getting only one shot at passing a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government open after Sept. 30. Because of the time Congress will be devoting to other priorities when it returns to Washington after Labor Day, neither the House nor the Senate will have the luxury of amending the CR they receive from the other chamber and sending it back for a second vote, reported CQ. “The highway bill, the cyber bill, the other things that need to get done, and the Iran resolution, and the highway bill are going to take a lot of time,” said Sen. Roy Blunt, vice chairman of the Republican conference …

Shutdown Not in the Cards, McConnell Says

  • August 7, 2015
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Thursday insisted there would be no government shutdown in October in the wake of the controversy over undercover videos of Planned Parenthood executives discussing the sale of fetal tissue. McConnell said he would not indulge conservatives who are demanding that language removing $528 million in federal funding for the group be attached to any fiscal 2016 spending bills, including a continuing resolution, reported CQ Roll Call. “I can’t tell you what will finally end up in or out of any government funding resolution. I can tell you without fear of contradiction there will be no government shutdown …

Talk of Potential Shutdown Emerges in Wake of Planned Parenthood Videos

  • August 4, 2015
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A growing number of Republicans are calling for the party’s leaders to link fiscal 2016 spending bills, including a continuing resolution, to language denying funds to Planned Parenthood, in response to a series of undercover videos showing the organization’s executives discussing the sale of fetal tissue. A failed procedural vote in the Senate Monday to debate a measure cutting off federal funding for Planned Parenthood is unlikely to slow a rising outcry over the issue from conservatives. The effort began in the House last week with 18 members pledging to oppose any spending bills that continue funding for the organization, reported the Hill. And now Senate Republicans, particularly three of the members running for president, have taken up the mantle …

Policy Bill Talks Stuck on Military Benefits

  • August 4, 2015
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A proposed increase in co-pays for prescriptions has emerged as one of the thorniest issues in negotiations between the House and Senate Armed Services committees over the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill. As of last week, the ranking members of the two committees had sided with Senate Armed Services Chair John McCain (R-Ariz.) against House Armed Services Chair Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) over the health care fees. McCain, along with Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), favor DOD’s plan to increase co-pays for drugs purchased through Tricare by mail or at retail pharmacies while continuing to allow prescriptions to be filled at military clinics for free …

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