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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

House Republican Leadership Taps Thornberry to Lead Armed Services Panel

  • November 18, 2014
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Texas Rep. Mac Thornberry (R), who has served as vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee for the last four years, was selected by House Republican leaders on Tuesday to chair the committee when the 114th Congress opens in January. Thornberry will replace Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), who is retiring at the end of the current session. His selection is expected to be approved by the entire Republican conference this week …

Authorization Bill Talks Hung up over Military Benefits

  • November 18, 2014
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A dispute over DOD cost-saving reforms affecting the basic allowance for housing and co-pays for prescription drugs are holding up negotiations between the leadership of the House and Senate Armed Services committees over a compromise fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill. Committee leaders were aiming to wrap up negotiations by the end of the week, and clearing the final version of the bill through the House and Senate during the lame duck session. The Pentagon had proposed slowing growth in the basic allowance for housing below the rate of inflation over the next three years so that the benefit only covers 95 percent of average rental costs …

California Lawmakers Rattled by Hagel’s BRAC Remarks

  • November 18, 2014
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Southern California lawmakers remain skeptical that Congress will authorize a new BRAC round in the near future; nevertheless, they were caught off guard when Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Sunday that additional base closures are needed to free up spending for more pressing requirements. “Just the fact that he was at Fort Irwin when he did it, obviously raised my blood pressure quite a bit,” said Rep. Paul Cook (R). “Maybe he doesn’t realize how sensitive [the issue] is …

Pentagon Will Request a New BRAC Round in FY’16 Budget, Hagel Indicates

  • November 17, 2014
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During multiple stops this weekend, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel underscored the need for a new BRAC round as one way for the Defense Department to mitigate the fiscal constraints imposed by the Budget Control Act spending caps. “Despite numerous efforts and almost 10 years since the last round, DOD has been unable to secure another round of base realignment and closure. Today, DOD has 24 percent excess capacity in our basing and facilities — excess capacity that is costing us billions of dollars every year, money that could otherwise be invested in maintaining our military’s edge. We need Congress to help end this excess spending …

Armed Services Panels Close in on Compromise Bill

  • November 17, 2014
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The leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees are aiming shortly to finish hammering out an agreement on a fiscal 2015 compromise defense authorization bill after negotiations stalled Friday. The chairmen and ranking members of each chamber’s panel continued to meet Monday to settle high profile issues, with the Army’s plan to shift 192 Apache attack helicopters from the National Guard to the active Army representing one of the most contentious sticking point …

DOD May Ask for $60B over Spending Caps for FY’16, Report Says

  • November 17, 2014
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The Defense Department’s base budget request for fiscal 2016 may exceed the Budget Control Act spending cap for that year by up to $60 billion, Defense News reported Sunday. In recent months senior officials have been saying that the FY 2016 budget would exceed that year’s $535 billion cap on defense, but the exact magnitude of the disparity had not been clear. But despite the Republican Party controlling the House and Senate next year, the prospects for Congress to offer the Pentagon relief from the stringent spending caps remain low, according to analysts as well as current and former lawmakers …

Midterm Elections Sharpen House Republicans’ Approach to FY’15 Appropriations

  • November 16, 2014
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Since lawmakers returned to Washington last week from the campaign trail, the question facing House Republican leaders regarding fiscal 2015 appropriations has shifted from what funding mechanism they favor to keep the government running beyond Dec. 11 to whether they will embrace a conservative-led effort to confront President Obama over immigration and possibly trigger a shutdown. So far House leaders have encouraged Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) to produce an omnibus spending bill funding all federal agencies through next September that could be passed during the current lame duck session. Rogers and his Senate counterpart, Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), continue to negotiate a compromise spending package with a goal of finishing by the second week of December …

House Republicans Retain Earmark Ban

  • November 16, 2014
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House Republicans on Friday rejected a proposal to relax the conference’s earmark ban by allowing funds to be directed for specific projects to states, localities, public utilities and other public entities. The rules change, proposed by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), was rejected overwhelmingly, reported the Hill. “We had a very vigorous discussion. There’s no change in our policy; the ban stills exists,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) …

New Neighborhood Set to Open at Hunters Point

  • November 16, 2014
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Before the end of winter, the first residents will begin moving into new homes at the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in southeastern San Francisco. “It will be the next full neighborhood in San Francisco,” said Sheryl McKibben, sales agent for the development that Lennar Urban has named the San Francisco Shipyard. “Almost a city within a city,” she said. The first phase of building will result in 1,400 homes on 63 acres. When it is completed, the decades-long, multibillion-dollar redevelopment is slated to have 12,500 new homes and more than 4 million square feet of office, commercial and retail space. “People create these places,” Kofi Bonner, president of Lennar Urban, told NBC Bay Area. “We can’t wait to have families running around here.” Beginning next year, the Navy is planning to transfer other parts of the shipyard as they are cleaned up.

Deputy Defense Secretary Takes up the BRAC Mantle

  • November 14, 2014
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During remarks Wednesday focusing on the bind the Pentagon faces between stringent spending caps and a Congress unwilling to embrace the department’s belt-tightening reforms, Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work believed there was an opening to make the case for a new round of base closures. “The first place we should look at is our basing infrastructure. The department spends about $55 billion annually to maintain, sustain, and protect its bases,” Work said during the Center for Strategic and International Studies Fifth Annual Global Security Forum. And with recent and planned cuts to the military’s force structure, DOD’s excess capacity, estimated at 24 percent, is only rising, he said …

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