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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

Appropriations Panel Blocks Most Cost-Saving Reforms

  • July 17, 2014
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The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved a $490 billion fiscal 2015 defense spending bill that rejects many of the Pentagon’s cost-savings proposals intended to comply with the Budget Control Act spending caps. The measure blocks DOD’s plan to slash subsidies for military grocery stores by $200 million in FY 2015; however, it embraced one of the department’s reforms — limiting housing allowances below the rate of inflation. The plan to slow the growth in the basic allowance for housing would save $8.8 billion in personnel costs over the next five years, according to a committee summary of the spending bill …

DOD Awards $62.6M to Improve Facilities at California, Virginia School Districts

  • July 16, 2014
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The Defense Department is awarding $62.6 million to two school districts in Southern California and one in Northern Virginia to upgrade elementary and middle schools at neighboring military installations. The San Diego Unified School District will receive $34.1 million in grant funds to renovate, repair and construct new classrooms at Doris Miller and Joy Bright Hancock Elementary Schools at Naval Base San Diego. The district is providing an additional $8.5 million in non-federal matching funds for the two schools …

Durbin Not Optimistic over Prospect of Avoiding CR to Start FY’15

  • July 16, 2014
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Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) on Wednesday said he hoped the fiscal 2015 defense spending bill could go to the Senate floor and gain approval according to regular order, but he wasn’t particularly confident. Asked if the process of taking up spending bills one at a time was dead, he said, “I hope not, but it looks really tough,” reported CQ. “I’d like to bring it to the floor, I really would. I know it’s a long shot because we had a bad experience with three earlier bills, but I would really like to do that …

Senate Panel Votes to Preserve A-10 Fleet

  • July 15, 2014
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The Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee on Tuesday approved a $490 billion fiscal 2015 defense spending bill that allocates $338 million in funding to keep the A-10 close air support aircraft flying and reject the Air Force’s proposal to retire its Warthog fleet. The Air Force has said eliminating the A-10 would save $4.2 billion over the next five years, but Tuesday’s vote marks the latest indication that Congress will keep the aircraft flying next year. The House Appropriations Committee had embraced the retirement plan, but House lawmakers last month overwhelmingly voted to reverse that decision …

Wittman Tries to Raise the Profile of ‘Readiness’

  • July 15, 2014
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The budget accounts that fund military readiness, operation and maintenance, typically suffer disproportionate cuts when the defense budget needs to be trimmed in the near term because other accounts often are tied up in long-term spending commitments. But while operation accounts are seen as a convenient place to take budget cuts, Virginia Rep. Rob Wittman (R), chairman of the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee, would like to change that perception, especially as the Pentagon needs to cope with steeper cuts in the coming years …

Air Force Realignment to Trim Headquarters Staffing

  • July 14, 2014
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The Air Force will deactivate and realign organizations at its headquarters, major commands, numbered air forces and field operating agencies as part of a cost-cutting effort that would eliminate 3,459 positions at headquarters across the service, officials announced Monday. The changes, a result of a comprehensive effort to reduce overhead costs, increase efficiencies, eliminate redundant activities and improve effectiveness and business processes, will help the service meet a Pentagon directive to reduce costs and staff levels by at least 20 percent. The reorganization is projected to save $1.6 billion in the next five years …

Forbes Blasts Navy Plan to Deactivate Cruisers

  • July 13, 2014
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Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services’ Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, slammed the Navy’s plan to save $4.7 billion by taking 11 guided missile cruisers out of service for modernization. Forbes faulted the proposal during a hearing Thursday, saying there is no guarantee the ships would return to service since the money needed to update the cruisers may not be available. “I don’t think this is a phased modernization plan,” Forbes said, reported the Virginian-Pilot. “I think this is a phased euthanization plan, because when those ships go into dry dock, we have no assurance they’re coming back …

Replacing Uniformed Personnel with Civilians Would Save Billions, CBO Says

  • July 10, 2014
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The Pentagon could save $19 billion from fiscal 2014-2023 by replacing 70,000 service members with civilian employees, according to a recent presentation by a Congressional Budget Office analyst. The 70,000 military personnel could be replaced with only 47,000 civilian workers partially because civilians have fewer ancillary responsibilities, reported Army Times. Other advantages to using civilians include savings from lower costs for pay and benefits, less frequent transfers and a reduced need for job-specific training …

Agencies Likely to Operate under CR at Start of FY’15

  • July 9, 2014
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It appears increasingly likely that the entire federal government will be forced to operate under a continuing resolution at the Oct. 1 start of the new fiscal year. With momentum on a three-bill “minibus” already stalled in the Senate and President Obama’s $3.7 billion emergency funding request to deal with child migrants competing for the short amount of time left on Capitol Hill before lawmakers return home to campaign ahead of the November elections, it’s not clear how any individual spending measures could be cleared by Congress before fiscal 2015 begins, reports CQ …

Window for Senate to Move Spending Bills is Running Out

  • July 7, 2014
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The Senate has four weeks before Congress’ August recess to regain momentum on the fiscal 2015 appropriations process and avoid the need to pass a continuing resolution to keep the government running past Sept. 30. No matter what, lawmakers will need to approve a stopgap funding bill to keep the doors open for most federal agencies at the start of the new fiscal year. But if Senate Republicans and Democrats can reach agreement on a small handful of next year’s appropriations bills, some agencies could get a full-year funding bill prior to Oct. 1 …

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