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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

Defense Bill Calls for Study of Underutilized Facilities

  • December 17, 2013
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The Defense Department would be required to analyze its real estate inventory to determine how many facilities are underutilized, under a provision in the compromise version of the fiscal 2014 defense authorization bill scheduled to be taken up by the Senate this week. The language was added to the House version of the measure in June by Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.) as part of his effort to cut wasteful spending by the government on unused buildings …

Veterans Legislation Eludes Enactment in 2013

  • December 16, 2013
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The legislative year is about to close this week without any major veterans bills becoming law, a disappointment to advocates after a string of accomplishments on Capitol Hill in the previous two sessions. In early fall, veterans groups were hopeful as several initiatives, including one granting in-state tuition rates at public universities to veterans regardless of their hometown, appeared to have bipartisan support …

GOP Armed Services Leaders Urge Colleagues to Support Authorization Bill

  • December 16, 2013
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Sens. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), the top two Republicans on the Armed Services Committee, are asking their colleagues to help clear the fiscal 2014 defense authorization bill this week. In a letter to the Republican conference, the lawmakers say that passing the bill before the Senate leaves Capitol Hill this week is the only way to ensure the annual policy bill becomes law for the 52nd consecutive year …

Appropriators Start to Resolve Differences over Competing Versions of Spending Bills

  • December 16, 2013
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Appropriators from both chambers have started meeting to hash out compromise fiscal 2014 spending bills in anticipation that last week’s budget deal is enacted. Appropriators plan to work out individual spending plans for most, but not all, of the 12 measures and package them into an omnibus bill. Spending bills with the broadest support — including defense, military construction-veterans affairs and homeland security — almost definitely would be included in the omnibus individually …

Defense Bill Drops Language Requiring Consideration of Community Support before Realigning Bases

  • December 16, 2013
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Language requiring the Pentagon to consider the monetary value of services provided to an installation by its host community before making realignment or closure decisions was stripped from the compromise version of the fiscal 2014 defense authorization bill passed last week by the House. The amendment would have required the secretary of defense to account for “the value of services, such as schools, libraries, and utilities, as well as land, structures, and access to infrastructure, such as airports and seaports, that are provided by the local community to the military installation and that result in cost savings for the Armed Forces” when considering realignment decisions outside of the BRAC process …

Senate to Take up Budget Agreement, Defense Bill This Week

  • December 16, 2013
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Despite public opposition from Republican lawmakers, the Senate this week is expected to approve key agreements unveiled over the past seven days — a budget agreement setting topline spending for fiscal 2014 and 2015, and a compromise version of this year’s defense authorization bill. The chamber likely would hold a vote to limit debate on the budget deal Tuesday, with final action expected by Wednesday. Many GOP senators oppose the deal for suspending a portion of the spending caps imposed under sequestration, but the overwhelming 332-94 vote last week in the Republican-controlled House to pass the budget framework will make it difficult for Senate Republicans to block the legislation …

Senate Caucus Highlights Veterans Issues, Community Partnering for Congressional Staff

  • December 15, 2013
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Lawmakers, DOD officials and local leaders addressed some of the most pressing issues for active-base communities at the first-ever Senate Defense Communities Caucus-hosted briefing last week, including military-community partnering, economic development and veterans’ quality of life. “Communities being responsive and welcoming to transitioning veterans, and thinking outside of the box to find solutions when working with the military are important in this time of tighter budgets,” said Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) …

BRAC Prohibition in Compromise Measure Short, To the Point

  • December 12, 2013
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The House and Senate versions of the fiscal 2014 defense authorization bill adopted varying approaches to rejecting the Obama administration’s request for a BRAC round in 2015, and the compromise version of the legislation unveiled this week finds one more way to bar additional base closures. “Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize an additional Base Realignment and Closure round,” reads the language in the bill …

Hagel Praises Sequester Relief included in Budget Deal

  • December 12, 2013
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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Thursday applauded this week’s budget agreement for restoring much-needed funds to military readiness accounts and supporting planning efforts over the next two years. “While this agreement doesn’t solve every budget problem facing DOD, it will help address our military readiness challenge by restoring funding for training and procurement — especially in fiscal year 2014,” Hagel said …

Authorization Bill Likely to Advance in Senate, Inhofe Says

  • December 12, 2013
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Despite a groundswell of resistance among Senate Republicans to supporting the fiscal 2014 defense authorization bill, there is sufficient backing in the party’s caucus to clear the compromise measure crafted by committee leaders, James Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Thursday. Opposition to the legislation in the Senate stems from the dispute over how many amendments Republicans would be allowed to bring up when the bill came to the floor prior to Thanksgiving. Party leaders could not reach an agreement, prompting Armed Services committee leaders from both chambers to hash out a “pre-conferenced” measure over the past several weeks …

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