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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

Air Force Offers Compromise over A-10 Fleet Retirement

  • November 12, 2014
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Air Force leaders have broached the possibility of retiring only 72 A-10 close air support aircraft during fiscal 2015 in response to Congress’ rejection of its proposal to retire its entire fleet of Warthogs. During briefings on Capitol Hill, Air Force officials said they urgently need this limited retirement so they can shift maintenance crews from A-10 units to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Unless the service is allowed to retire three active-duty squadrons, it may not be able to meet the planned Aug. 1, 2016, operational date for the F-35A …

McCain Looks to Reverse Sequestration

  • November 12, 2014
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The incoming chairman of the Senate Armed Service Committee said Wednesday that eliminating the 2011 Budget Control Act spending caps on the Pentagon will be one of his top priorities. “As far as the military is concerned, the blow is too big … and with the world changing as it is, it’s really too biting,” John McCain (R-Ariz.), told reporters. McCain indicated he would hold hearings on the impact of the stringent spending caps. “We’ll be hearing from our services chiefs about how really biting this is …

Authorization Bill Remains on Path to Informal Conference

  • November 12, 2014
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With staff from the House and Senate Armed Services committees having reconciled many of the differences between competing versions of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill, the committees’ leadership this week will begin to hash out the higher profile issues that have not yet been settled. The committees’ chairmen, Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) and Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), and ranking members, Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), will focus on more contentious issues affecting the future of the A-10 Warthog aircraft, the Army National Guard helicopter fleet and a Navy initiative to modernize its cruiser fleet. The panels’ best bet for clearing the annual defense policy bill during the lame duck session starting today almost certainly will be to repeat last year’s maneuver …

Reversing Sequestration Missing from Republican Agenda

  • November 11, 2014
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The Republican landslide last week that allowed the party to seize control of the Senate and increase its majority in the House for the most part did not emphasize the tenets of the tea party and its philosophy of slashing government programs, with many of the winners abiding by traditional Republican values such as a strong military. “The isolationist wing of the GOP that favored deficit reduction over a strong defense seems to be in retreat,” Loren Thompson, chief operating officer of the Lexington Institute, told Defense News. Despite a shift that would seem to favor defense hawks, however, Republican leaders in both chambers last week did not mention relaxing the Budget Control Act spending caps on defense as one of their priorities for the 114th Congress …

Hagel Plans to Stay for Duration of President’s Term

  • November 10, 2014
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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel plans to remain at his post for the remainder of the Obama presidency, Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said Friday. “The secretary is fully committed to his job as defense secretary and leading this department, and he looks forward to doing that through the remainder,” Kirby told reporters. The press secretary’s comments followed a report by Washington Post columnist David Ignatius about speculation that Hagel would leave before the end of 2016, reported Politico. “Administration officials speculate that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel may leave well before the president’s term ends; a likely replacement would be former undersecretary Michèle Flournoy, who was nearly picked for the job in 2013,” Ignatius wrote last week.
Hagel was sworn in as defense secretary in February 2013.

Omnibus Spending Bill Will Not Come out until December

  • November 10, 2014
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An omnibus spending bill needed to keep the government running through next Oct. 1 likely won’t be released until early December, according to House Appropriations Committee spokeswoman Jennifer Hing. The fiscal 2015 spending measure likely would be released the week of Dec. 8, reported the Hill. The timing would give lawmakers very little time to debate and vote on the legislation, as the existing continuing resolution runs out Dec. 11. Of course, lawmakers could pass another short-term stopgap measure to give themselves more time to clear an end-of-the-year omnibus …

Congressional Leaders Favor Omnibus

  • November 9, 2014
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Congressional leaders from both parties attending a White House lunch Friday agreed that lawmakers should advance an omnibus spending bill during the lame duck session to wrap up fiscal 2015 appropriations, reported the Hill. “There were areas of significant agreement I think — the agreement that we want to do an omnibus and wanted to do that hopefully by Dec. 11 — completing the funding for this year’s operations of funding,” House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said on CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper.” Appropriators in both chambers have been pushing to move a package of the 12 individual spending bills, and staffers have been laying the groundwork for an omnibus over the past months …

Pentagon Spending on Path to Bust Budget Caps, CBO Finds

  • November 6, 2014
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Pentagon spending is forecast to grow at an average annual rate of 1.2 percent over the next 15 years, resulting in a 20 percent increase in the defense budget by 2030, according to a report released Thursday by the Congressional Budget Office. The largest components of the DOD budget would grow by different amounts, however. The cost of operation and support, which accounts for about two-thirds of the department’s FY 2015 budget, would rise steadily through 2030, with average growth of 1.1 percent a year in real terms and cumulative growth of 18 percent. The growth in operation and support — which includes compensation for the department’s military and civilian employees, military health care, and various operation and maintenance activities — would occur despite a 6 percent decrease in the size of the military …

Changes at the Top of Senate Milcon Spending Panel

  • November 6, 2014
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With Republicans in control of the Senate when the 114th Congress opens in January, the chamber’s Appropriations Committee will get new leadership. At the top, Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) likely will replace Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) as chairman of the full committee. Cochrane will use his seniority on the committee to leapfrog the current ranking member, Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), reports CQ. Cochran, who chaired the full committee in the 109th Congress, also is expected to retain the gavel for the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee …

Congressional Staff Continue to Work toward Omnibus Spending Bill

  • November 5, 2014
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House and Senate Appropriations staffers continue to lay the groundwork for a fiscal 2015 omnibus spending bill to wrap up appropriations though next Oct. 1. But while Republican leaders in the House and Senate favor an omnibus to clear the decks for a GOP-led Congress next January, it’s still not clear whether House Republicans will go along with that approach. With Republicans increasing their House majority and gaining control of the Senate in Tuesday’s elections, conservatives likely will push for a second continuing resolution so they can rewrite bills in the new Congress to reflect GOP priorities …

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