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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

Subcommittee Chairs Remain Hostile toward New BRAC Round

  • March 15, 2015
  • comments: 1

Now that the House and Senate panels responsible for BRAC have held their hearings on the administration’s fiscal 2016 budget request, it’s clear that the two subcommittee chairs are no less opposed to green lighting the Pentagon’s request to hold a new BRAC round than they have been in the past. Last Wednesday, Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services’ Readiness and Management Support Subcommittee, was upfront about her views on the matter, telling the installation chiefs for DOD and each of the services that her “going-in position” was that she is opposed to BRAC. At the previous week’s House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee hearing, Chairman Rob Wittman (R-Va.) never stated his opposition to the department’s BRAC proposal but asked questions designed to bolster arguments against the request …

Senate Panel Fails to Embrace Pentagon’s BRAC Request

  • March 12, 2015
  • comments: 2

Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services’ Readiness and Management Support Subcommittee, reiterated her staunch opposition to a new BRAC round at her panel’s hearing Wednesday, a sentiment that was generally shared by the handful of members in attendance. “Even after acknowledging the shortcomings of the 2005 round, the department continues to request the same legislative framework,” Ayotte said at the outset of the hearing. “I remain opposed to BRAC and do not want to give the department the open-ended authority to pursue another BRAC round …

No Avoiding BRAC under Budget Constraints, Graham Says

  • March 11, 2015
  • comments: 0

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
  • comments: 0

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
  • comments: 0

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 …

McCain Pledges to Shield A-10s from Air Force’s Retirement Plans

  • March 9, 2015
  • comments: 0

Sen. John McCain on Friday vowed to reverse the Air Force’s recent decision to place nine A-10 close air support aircraft based at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson into backup status. Officials last year proposed retiring the entire fleet of nearly 300 A-10s to save about $4 billion. Lawmakers rejected that plan in the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill but included language permitting the Air Force to place up to 36 A-10s this fiscal year into backup status, reported the Arizona Daily Star. “That was a compromise that was made last year in response to the Air Force’s misguided attempt to retire all the A-10s …

BRAC Process Would Help VA Replace Obsolete Facilities

  • March 9, 2015
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Veterans Affairs officials have concluded the agency is badly in need of a BRAC-like process that would allow it to dispose of hundreds of facilities that are either antiquated or no longer needed because they are located far from veteran populations. “VA cannot be a sound steward of the taxpayers’ resources with the asset portfolio we carry. No business would carry such a portfolio, and veterans deserve better,” Secretary Robert McDonald told the House Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee last week. “It’s time to close VA’s old substandard and underutilized infrastructure …

Condition of Facilities Remains at High Risk, Installation Officials Say

  • March 8, 2015
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DOD’s fiscal 2016 budget request would help the services restore some of the backlog in facility maintenance caused by previous years’ spending cuts, but it still would leave installations scrambling to keep pace with building maintenance requirements. The proposal would cover only 81 percent of the funds the services need to adequately maintain their infrastructure, reported Federal News Radio. And that’s assuming Congress comes up with a way to pay for the administration’s request to exceed the Budget Control Act spending caps by $35 billion next year. “Facility sustainment is still the place where I see the highest risk,” said John Conger, acting assistant secretary of defense for energy, installations and environment …

Carter Testimony Highlights BRAC Successes

  • March 8, 2015
  • comments: 0

The 19-page testimony on DOD’s fiscal 2016 budget request that Secretary Ashton Carter submitted to two congressional committees last week argued for a BRAC round in 2017, but it also included a nod to several communities that have successfully recovered from a base closure. The justification for a new round is clear, Carter says. “Simply put, we have more bases in more places than we need. We estimate DOD has about 25 percent more infrastructure capacity than necessary,” according to his written testimony. “We must be permitted to divest surplus infrastructure as we reduce and renew force structure. With projected recurring savings from a new BRAC round totaling some $2 billion a year, it would be irresponsible to cut tooth without also cutting tail …

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