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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

Prospect of Federal Shutdown Reaches 40 Percent, Expert Says

  • July 29, 2015
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With Republicans leaders resisting President Obama’s latest call for budget talks to resolve the impasse over fiscal 2016 spending, federal budget expert Stan Collender says the chances of a government shutdown have now risen to 40 percent. Of course, the most likely outcome still is a continuing resolution that remains in force until a budget deal can be reached, Collender, an executive vice president at Qorvis/MSLGROUP and a former staffer on the House and Senate Budget committees, said in a blog post. Last month, House Speaker John Boehner had said he was willing to sit down with the White House to negotiate a budget deal, but so far the president had never asked him do so. But after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy last week said he didn’t see “a place currently where they c(ould) come to a conclusion …

New House Appropriations Chair Could Result in New Defense Cardinal

  • July 28, 2015
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A decision by Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) not to seek a fourth term atop the House Appropriations Committee when the next Congress starts in 2017 could create an opening for chairman of the committee’s defense spending panel. During an interview last week, Rogers said he didn’t expect to ask his party’s leadership for a waiver to allow him to retain the committee gavel for a fourth consecutive term. The three leading contenders to chair the full committee are Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) — who now heads the defense spending panel — Kay Granger (R-Texas) and Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.). All three are positioned to make a strong case for replacing Rogers. None, however, has publicly stated they are interested in pursuing the chairmanship …

More Gains Remain from Reducing Military’s Overseas Presence, Professor Argues

  • July 28, 2015
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The Defense Department has made some progress closing bases overseas, especially in Europe, but DOD still could gain considerable benefits from additional closures of foreign bases, according to an op-ed published Monday in the New York Times. “The Pentagon and Congress should pair a new round of domestic base closings with base closings abroad,” writes David Vine, an associate professor of anthropology at American University and the author of the forthcoming book “Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World.” Vine argues that DOD’s overseas bases waste taxpayer money and undermine national security …

Force Reductions to Leave Army at ‘Razor’s Edge,’ Odierno Says

  • July 26, 2015
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The Army’s plan to shrink its active-duty end strength to 450,000 soldiers over the next three years will force the nation to assume a greater level of risk as the number of hotspots across the globe rises, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said Thursday. “With the increased instability around the world, 490,000 is the right number, but we can’t do it,” Odierno said during a visit to Fort Carson. “We don’t have the budget to do it.” The decision to eliminate 40,000 troops was prompted by the discretionary spending caps imposed under the 2011 Budget Control Act. Odierno, who is retiring in August, is hoping lawmakers strike a multi-year deal to raise the spending caps …

Congress to Take up CR in September, Boehner Says

  • July 24, 2015
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Lawmakers most likely will rely on a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government open when the new fiscal year starts Oct. 1, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Thursday. “It’s pretty clear, given the number of days we’re going to be here in September, that we’re going to need a CR of some kind,” Boehner said. The speaker did not address how long he envisioned a stopgap measure lasting, reported CQ Roll Call. “No decisions have been made about that,” he said. “We’ll deal with it when we get back in September …

Housing Allowance, Retirement Benefits Remain Sticking Points for Conferees

  • July 24, 2015
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A handful of outstanding issues are hindering progress by House and Senate conferees negotiating a final version of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill, and almost certainly will prevent talks from finishing in time for the two chambers to clear a compromise measure before leaving Washington for August recess. Issues holding up the talks include service members’ housing and retirement benefits, along with language in the House version barring the Interior Department from listing the greater sage grouse as an endangered species. Members of the House and Senate Armed Services committees have met throughout the week, but differences over those issues and others make it doubtful they will meet their target date for agreeing to a conference report, reported CQ Roll Call. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), the ranking member on House Armed Services, said committee leaders were not planning to meet Thursday, making it extremely unlikely that negotiations could be completed this week …

Conference Agreement on Defense Bill May Be Delayed

  • July 23, 2015
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Lawmakers’ goal to hash out a compromise version of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill before Congress’ August recess may be in jeopardy, according to multiple sources on Capitol Hill. As recently as last Friday, the chairmen of the House and Senate Armed Services committees were hoping to complete negotiations in time for the House to take up a conference report next week, with the Senate clearing it the following week. But even as talks among House-Senate conferees continue this week, several congressional staff members have told Inside Defense that lawmakers may not agree on compromise legislation until they return to Washington in September …

Democrats Step up Pressure to Negotiate Higher Spending Caps

  • July 22, 2015
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President Obama on Tuesday reiterated his call for Republicans to negotiate higher spending levels for domestic agencies as well as the Pentagon if he is to sign any fiscal 2016 appropriations bills. “I’m calling on Republican leaders in Congress to come to the table with Democrats, sit down, negotiate a budget that protects our national security and our economic security,” Obama said at a VFW convention in Pittsburgh. “I’ve said I will veto any budget that locks in the sequester. It is not good for our country,” he said …

House Republicans Continue Support for Base in Azores

  • July 22, 2015
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House Republicans are reviewing a DOD decision to build an intelligence center in the United Kingdom as part of an ongoing effort to maintain the U.S. presence at Lajes Air Force Base, located on the Portuguese island of Terceira in the Azores. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, requested DOD documents used in making the decision to build the intelligence center at Royal Air Force Base Croughton, located outside of London, to find out why the military chose the U.K. location over Lajes, a Portuguese Air Force installation …

Member-Led Efforts to Solve Sequestration Yield Little in Results

  • July 21, 2015
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Lawmakers regularly tout their participation in behind-the-scenes talks to produce a bipartisan plan to lift the statutory spending caps on defense and domestic spending, but the reality is very little progress has been made, reports CQ. A group led by Senate Armed Services Chair John McCain (R-Ariz.), for example, has been meeting since earlier this year to resolve what McCain said was his number one priority when he took the panel’s gavel in January. Beyond talking, it’s not clear if the group has made any headway. “It would be a good idea,” McCain said of completing a plan. “But first you’ve got to agree on what to put out there. That’s why these endless discussions go on …

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