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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

VA Reform Bill Retains Provision to Prompt States to Offer In-State Tuition to Veterans

  • July 31, 2014
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The compromise version of legislation addressing the Department of Veterans Affairs’ scheduling crisis includes a provision allowing veterans to use their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits at public universities only if they are charged, at most, in-state tuition rates. The language does not force states to charge veterans in-state tuition at public universities, but in states that charge higher rates, the VA would not provide veterans any benefits for tuition and fees. Currently, the GI Bill covers tuition and fees at the in-state rate of public schools, but veterans may not always qualify for those rates due to the wide variance in state residency laws …

Authorization Bill on September To-Do List, Reid Says

  • July 31, 2014
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The Senate will only have “two weeks and two days” to work in September before it plans to adjourn until after the midterm election, but passing the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill is on the chamber’s “have-to-do” list, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Thursday. To make headway on the annual defense bill and other legislative priorities, including stopgap and emergency spending bills, Reid warned members that the Senate would not be taking weekends off after it returns from its August recess on Sept. 8 …

Signs of Progress in Federal Effort to Pare List of Excess Properties

  • July 30, 2014
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At a House hearing on Tuesday, Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) said the federal government’s ownership of 7,000 unneeded properties worth $350 billion is “unacceptable.” “The Congress and public will be astounded to learn of the unbelievable inventory of properties uncovered in documents provided to the committee after waiting nearly three years,” said Mica, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform’s Government Operations Subcommittee. Nearly 1,500 of the unneeded properties are valued in the multi-million-dollar range …

Mikulski Attempt to Move Milcon Spending Bill Rebuffed

  • July 30, 2014
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An effort by Senate Appropriations Chair Barbara Mikulski to move the fiscal 2015 military construction-veterans affairs spending bill to the floor without allowing for amendments was rejected, but the Maryland Democrat says she hasn’t yet given up. Senate Republicans wanted the measure considered with amendments and to set aside the supplemental spending bill needed to address the child migration crisis, demands Mikulski could not agree to …

House, Senate Staff to Discuss Compromise Policy Bill during Recess

  • July 29, 2014
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House and Senate staff from the Armed Services committees will attempt to work out a compromise fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill as a backup measure in the event the Senate once again fails to approve its own version of the annual defense policy legislation. The chairmen of both Armed Services committees recently met to discuss the need to hash out a conference report for the authorization bill that could quickly pass the House and Senate …

DOD’s Industrial Policy Chief to Step Down

  • July 27, 2014
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Elana Broitman, who heads the Pentagon’s industrial policy office, said Friday she is stepping down next month after only five months in her current post. Broitman, the deputy assistant secretary of defense (DASD) for manufacturing and industrial base policy, told her office that she would be moving to New York because of a change in her husband’s job, reported Defense News. She joined the Pentagon in 2013 as principal deputy to the DASD. When her predecessor Brett Lambert left last summer, Broitman replaced him in an acting capacity. In March she was officially named to her current post. Broitman will leave DOD at the end of August. “The department will ensure that the work of [the office] will continue through this transition,” spokeswoman Maureen Schumann told Defense News.

Senate May Move Milcon Spending Bill after August Recess

  • July 24, 2014
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Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) has revived talk of advancing a fiscal 2015 spending bill before Oct. 1, with the military construction-veterans affairs measure looking like the chamber’s best shot. Senate Democrats possibly could combine the milcon bill with other spending measures or, even, focus their efforts on approving the defense spending measure, reported CQ …

DOD to House 5,000 More Migrant Children

  • July 23, 2014
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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has authorized the military to house up to 5,000 additional unaccompanied children who have crossed the nation’s southern border illegally, spokesman Col. Steve Warren said Wednesday. Hagel’s order — signed at the request of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) — also extends the housing assistance mission to Jan. 31, 2015, reported Stars and Stripes. Officials have not yet chosen the installations that will accommodate the flood of children from Central America …

Ranchers Concerned about Possible Transfer of BLM Lands at White Sands to DOD

  • July 23, 2014
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Language in the House version of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill shifting control of hundreds of thousands of acres owned by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in the northern extension of White Sands Missile Range, N.M., to the Pentagon has ranchers concerned that the transfer could restrict their access for grazing and hunting. The provision is a reaction to the SunZia Southwest Transmission Project — a 515-mile, high-voltage transmission line traversing the northern extension of White Sands — which DOD officials had opposed until May when the developer agreed to bury five miles of the line to eliminate conflicts with training and weapons testing …

House Readiness Chair Reiterates Stance on New BRAC Round

  • July 23, 2014
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At a summit on maintaining military readiness under spending constraints, Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee, reiterated his position that Congress shouldn’t consider approving a new round of base closures until the Pentagon clarifies the future direction of force structure and its objectives for the next BRAC. “And if we’re going to get this right, we need to finish some things, we need to understand where’s end strength going to end up, how are we going to properly resource in the face of sequester, in the face of transitioning out of [the overseas contingency operations account] …

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