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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

Obama’s Attempt to Overturn Sequester Runs into Republican Roadblock

  • January 30, 2015
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Congressional Republicans have made it clear they will not support President Obama’s plan to pay for a fiscal 2016 budget request that tops the statutory spending caps by $74 billion through an unspecified combination of spending cuts and the elimination of tax breaks. Many Republicans would join Obama and Democrats in lifting the Budget Control Act spending cap for the Pentagon, but they are unwilling to provide higher spending for domestic programs as well, reported CQ. An aide to House Budget Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) outright rejected the budget proposal which the president is scheduled to submit to Congress on Monday …

Senate Milcon Panel Features Six New Lawmakers

  • January 29, 2015
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The lineup of the Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee in the new Congress remains largely intact at the senior levels but includes a number of new Republican and Democratic lawmakers. The most significant change is that Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), who had been the ranking member, is now the chairman. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) takes over the top Democratic slot for the retiring Tim Johnson (D-S.D.). New Republicans on the milcon panel include John Boozman (R-Ark.); Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.); and Bill Cassidy (R-La.). New Democrats include Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii); Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.); and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) …

McCain, Service Chiefs Warn about Impact of Spending Caps

  • January 28, 2015
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The nation’s top military officers on Wednesday bemoaned the impact of the Budget Control Act spending caps on national security, warning lawmakers they will not be able to carry out the nation’s defense strategy if Congress fails to offer any relief from pending sequestration. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno told the Senate Armed Services Committee his force is as unready as at any other point in its 239-year history, with only 33 percent of the service’s brigades “ready to the extent we would expect them to be if asked to fight.” If sequestration is imposed starting in fiscal 2016, Odierno said the Army will need to cut 60,000 soldiers after already eliminating 80,000 troops in recent years …

Courtney Becomes Top Democrat on House Seapower Panel

  • January 28, 2015
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Connecticut Rep. Joe Courtney (D) will serve as the ranking member on the House Armed Services’ Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee in the 114th Congress, replacing Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.) who retired, according to the full subcommittee roster released Wednesday. Courtney’s district includes Naval Submarine Base New London and the General Dynamics Electric Boat manufacturing facility in Groton, and the Coast Guard Academy in New London. One other Armed Services panel has a new ranking member, with Rep. Jackie Speier (Calif.) taking the top Democratic spot on the Oversight and Investigations subcommittee. Rep. Niki Tsongas (Mass.) had been the ranking member …

FY’16 Budget Request Would Offer Healthy Spending Growth for DOD

  • January 27, 2015
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The five-year spending plan the Defense Department plans to release next week along with its fiscal 2016 budget request will exceed the statutory spending caps by $150 billion, amounting to “little more than a wish list,” reported CQ. DOD will request $534 billion for its FY 2016 base budget, topping the 2011 Budget Control Act spending cap by almost $35 billion. The FY 2017 and 2018 budget projections would surpass the caps by $35 billion and $32 billion respectively, according to a source familiar with the proposal. The FY 2016 budget, after adding in the $52 billion the department is seeking for the overseas contingency operations account, represents a $15 billion jump over current year funding …

Change in Housing Allowance Applies to Families Living On-, Off-Base

  • January 27, 2015
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Military families living in on-base privatized housing as well as those living off base will be affected by Congress’ move to slow the growth in the basic allowance for housing (BAH) so it covers only 99 percent of rental costs. The change, enacted as part of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill, means that families moving into privatized housing will pay rent that is one percent higher than their BAH. “The basic premise is that whatever is happening to everybody in town, whatever added burden they’re bearing whether it’s one percent [of average rental costs] out of pocket or absent renter’s insurance, then people on base will bear the same burden …

European Consolidation May Not Put BRAC Request over the Top, Past DOD Officials Say

  • January 26, 2015
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The consolidation of DOD’s military facilities in Europe announced earlier this month can be expected to bolster the department’s case for conducting a new BRAC round, but likely won’t be sufficient to convince lawmakers to grant the request, say several former Pentagon officials. “I think [the changes in Europe] will help some in terms of persuading Congress to give BRAC authority,” former DOD Comptroller Robert Hale told Stars and Stripes. “It was a reason in the past to deny BRAC authority. But I have to be candid and say I don’t think it will be enough …

FY’16 Budget May Propose Ending Requirement for Commissary Goods to Be Discounted

  • January 26, 2015
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The Pentagon is considering requesting Congress eliminate the requirement that commissary items be sold “at reduced cost,” as part of a package of fiscal 2016 budget proposals intended to reduce the cost of operating military grocery stores. The legislative change would be far-reaching and could end the commissary benefit for military families, reported the Navy Times. Commissaries now offer military families an average savings of about 30 percent over off-base groceries. Eliminating the requirement would help the Defense Commissary Agency meet a DOD mandate to identify $322 million in annual savings. Such a change, however, would result in DOD operating its commissaries closer to the way its exchanges are run …

Ohio Lawmakers, Installation Officials Discuss BRAC Scenarios

  • January 26, 2015
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Four Ohio lawmakers met with military officials on Friday to gather input for a plan to defend, and possibly enhance, the state’s installations in a future round of base closures. “What is our assessment of our vulnerabilities and opportunities as we look to the future and the possibility of decreased defense spending and another possible Base Realignment and Closure,” said Rep. Mike Turner. “How does it happen? What is the scope? How do we play the best hand to make sure that Ohio wins …

Carter to Defend FY’16 Budget before Congress

  • January 22, 2015
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Ashton Carter, who is almost certain to become the next Pentagon chief, will present the department’s fiscal 2016 budget request to Congress instead of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, according to the House and Senate Armed Services committees. “It’s going to be Carter, so we’re going to delay it some,” Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) told reporters Thursday. He said Carter and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, would present the budget request to his committee during the first week of March, one month after President Obama is scheduled to release the new spending proposal …

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