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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

Top Candidate for Pentagon Post Drops Out; Johnson Added to the Mix

  • November 30, 2014
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Michèle Flournoy, one of the frontrunners to replace Chuck Hagel as defense secretary, removed herself from contention last week, while at least one other candidate has emerged. Flournoy was undersecretary of defense for policy from 2009 to 2012 and now is CEO for the Center for a New American Security. She had been considered for the job two years ago before President Obama opted for Hagel. Flournoy is the second top-flight candidate to drop out of the running following last Monday’s announcement that President Obama had accepted Hagel’s resignation. Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), who is in line to become ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, also said he wasn’t interested in taking the helm at the Pentagon …

Hagel Remains Focused on Pressing Challenges, DOD Official Says

  • November 30, 2014
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Despite tendering his resignation after losing the confidence of the president, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will continue to press ahead with the department’s most critical priorities until his successor is confirmed by the Senate, Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters last week. “We’ve got huge budget uncertainty that we’re facing. And one of the things that he’ll be working on over the holiday break is work that FY ’16, fiscal year ’16 budget submission. There’s a lot of work to do …

List of Candidates to Replace Hagel Includes Familiar Names

  • November 24, 2014
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Following Monday’s surprise announcement that President Obama had accepted the resignation of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel after less than two years in his post, a number of candidates to succeed Hagel have emerged. The top tier of possible replacements includes three people with extensive experience at the highest echelons of the Pentagon — Michèle Flournoy, Ashton Carter and Robert Work. Flournoy, CEO of the Center for a New American Security, and Carter, former deputy defense secretary, both were on previous short lists to replace former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta …

McCain May End Closed Markups for Authorization Bill

  • November 24, 2014
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The Senate Armed Services Committee’s markup of the defense authorization bill may be open to the public next year, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who is expected to take the gavel for the panel in the 114th Congress, said last week. “I lean towards it, but I want to get the sense of all the members of the committee,” said McCain. McCain has previously stated there is no reason to hold the markup in a closed session. Before going ahead, though, he said he wants to make sure a majority of the committee supports the move, reported CQ Roll Call …

Prospects for Omnibus Drop following Obama’s Immigration Action

  • November 23, 2014
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As Republicans continue to grapple with a response to President Obama’s executive order on immigration, the likelihood that Congress clears an omnibus bill during the lame duck session to wrap up appropriations for fiscal 2015 continues to fall. That calculation comes as time is running out to act on an omnibus by Dec. 11 when the current continuing resolution runs out and conservatives remain convinced that the must-pass spending legislation is their most potent weapon to confront Obama on his executive order shielding millions of illegal immigrants from deportation …

Mechanism to Block Executive Order through Appropriations Remains Elusive

  • November 20, 2014
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The Republican camp struggled to agree on a strategy to take advantage of fiscal 2015 spending legislation to block President Obama’s executive action shielding millions of illegal immigrants from deportation. House appropriators say there is no practical way to defund the president’s action through spending bills, as the agency responsible for determining immigration status and work permits is funded through fees rather than congressional appropriations …

Eastern Pennsylvania Lawmaker to Take Reins of Milcon Spending Panel

  • November 20, 2014
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Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent (R) will take over the House Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee in the new Congress, Committee Chairman Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) announced Thursday. Dent, whose district stretches from Harrisburg to Allentown, previously served on the state-foreign operations panel, not military construction. His district includes Fort Indiantown Gap, an active National Guard Training Center which serves as the headquarters for the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, the primary training site for the Pennsylvania National Guard and home to the Indiantown Gap National Cemetery …

FY’15 Omnibus Talks Advance toward Funding Deadline

  • November 20, 2014
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Even as conservatives are uncertain how they will leverage must-pass spending legislation to block President Obama’s executive action on immigration, House and Senate appropriators continue to make progress hammering out a fiscal 2015 omnibus bill that would include funding for the entire federal government. Appropriators are planning on completing a year-end spending bill in time for the House and Senate to clear it before the current continuing resolution (CR) runs out on Dec. 11, reported CQ. Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, told the publication that a House-Senate meeting over the FY 2015 defense spending bill has reached agreement on a compromise measure, except for a handful of issues …

Emerging Threats Upend Assumptions behind Sequestration, Odierno Says

  • November 19, 2014
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Reductions in the size of the Army forced by the Budget Control Act spending caps need to be reconsidered given the emergence of multiple global threats over the past year, Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said Wednesday. Many of the assumptions made when officials decided to shrink the size of the active-duty Army — initially to 490,000 and now to about 440,000 — have not played out as planned. “We made assumptions that we wouldn’t be using Army forces in Europe the way we used to. We made assumptions that we wouldn’t go back into Iraq. We are back in Iraq. Here we are worried about Russia again …

Armed Services Leaders Split over Military Compensation Reforms

  • November 19, 2014
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Leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services committees negotiating a compromise fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill remain at an impasse over two DOD proposals intended to save billions of dollars in military benefit costs through FY 2019. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the outgoing chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Wednesday it’s worth “fighting for” the reforms advocated by Pentagon leaders. One would slow the growth in the basic allowance for housing below the rate of inflation over the next three years so that the benefit only covers 95 percent of average rental costs. The other would increase pharmacy co-pays for prescriptions filled outside of military treatment facilities …

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