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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

Incoming Armed Services Chairs Decry Strict Spending Caps

  • November 19, 2014
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Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), who will lead the House Armed Services Committee starting in January, on Wednesday urged his fellow lawmakers to reverse the stringent spending caps imposed on the Pentagon by the Budget Control Act. “Obviously that’s a big issue. [The] Armed Services Committee cannot solve that problem, but it needs to be solved and so working with others, we’re going to do our best to try to solve it,” Thornberry told reporters, according to the Hill. After being selected by the House Republican Steering Committee for the chairmanship on Tuesday, the House Republican conference affirmed his selection on Wednesday …

House Republicans Consider Options that Sidestep Government Shutdown

  • November 18, 2014
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House Republicans focused on several maneuvers that would fund the government while disrupting an executive action by President Obama on immigration. One option discussed Tuesday calls for the House to pass a 12-bill omnibus for fiscal 2015, and then after the president issues an executive order, passing a bill rescinding funding for the federal programs involved in carrying it out, reported the Hill. Republicans would wait until January when they control both chambers to pass the rescission measure …

House Republican Leadership Taps Thornberry to Lead Armed Services Panel

  • November 18, 2014
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Texas Rep. Mac Thornberry (R), who has served as vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee for the last four years, was selected by House Republican leaders on Tuesday to chair the committee when the 114th Congress opens in January. Thornberry will replace Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), who is retiring at the end of the current session. His selection is expected to be approved by the entire Republican conference this week …

Authorization Bill Talks Hung up over Military Benefits

  • November 18, 2014
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A dispute over DOD cost-saving reforms affecting the basic allowance for housing and co-pays for prescription drugs are holding up negotiations between the leadership of the House and Senate Armed Services committees over a compromise fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill. Committee leaders were aiming to wrap up negotiations by the end of the week, and clearing the final version of the bill through the House and Senate during the lame duck session. The Pentagon had proposed slowing 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 …

California Lawmakers Rattled by Hagel’s BRAC Remarks

  • November 18, 2014
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Southern California lawmakers remain skeptical that Congress will authorize a new BRAC round in the near future; nevertheless, they were caught off guard when Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Sunday that additional base closures are needed to free up spending for more pressing requirements. “Just the fact that he was at Fort Irwin when he did it, obviously raised my blood pressure quite a bit,” said Rep. Paul Cook (R). “Maybe he doesn’t realize how sensitive [the issue] is …

Pentagon Will Request a New BRAC Round in FY’16 Budget, Hagel Indicates

  • November 17, 2014
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During multiple stops this weekend, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel underscored the need for a new BRAC round as one way for the Defense Department to mitigate the fiscal constraints imposed by the Budget Control Act spending caps. “Despite numerous efforts and almost 10 years since the last round, DOD has been unable to secure another round of base realignment and closure. Today, DOD has 24 percent excess capacity in our basing and facilities — excess capacity that is costing us billions of dollars every year, money that could otherwise be invested in maintaining our military’s edge. We need Congress to help end this excess spending …

Armed Services Panels Close in on Compromise Bill

  • November 17, 2014
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The leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees are aiming shortly to finish hammering out an agreement on a fiscal 2015 compromise defense authorization bill after negotiations stalled Friday. The chairmen and ranking members of each chamber’s panel continued to meet Monday to settle high profile issues, with the Army’s plan to shift 192 Apache attack helicopters from the National Guard to the active Army representing one of the most contentious sticking point …

DOD May Ask for $60B over Spending Caps for FY’16, Report Says

  • November 17, 2014
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The Defense Department’s base budget request for fiscal 2016 may exceed the Budget Control Act spending cap for that year by up to $60 billion, Defense News reported Sunday. In recent months senior officials have been saying that the FY 2016 budget would exceed that year’s $535 billion cap on defense, but the exact magnitude of the disparity had not been clear. But despite the Republican Party controlling the House and Senate next year, the prospects for Congress to offer the Pentagon relief from the stringent spending caps remain low, according to analysts as well as current and former lawmakers …

Midterm Elections Sharpen House Republicans’ Approach to FY’15 Appropriations

  • November 16, 2014
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Since lawmakers returned to Washington last week from the campaign trail, the question facing House Republican leaders regarding fiscal 2015 appropriations has shifted from what funding mechanism they favor to keep the government running beyond Dec. 11 to whether they will embrace a conservative-led effort to confront President Obama over immigration and possibly trigger a shutdown. So far House leaders have encouraged Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) to produce an omnibus spending bill funding all federal agencies through next September that could be passed during the current lame duck session. Rogers and his Senate counterpart, Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), continue to negotiate a compromise spending package with a goal of finishing by the second week of December …

House Republicans Retain Earmark Ban

  • November 16, 2014
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House Republicans on Friday rejected a proposal to relax the conference’s earmark ban by allowing funds to be directed for specific projects to states, localities, public utilities and other public entities. The rules change, proposed by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), was rejected overwhelmingly, reported the Hill. “We had a very vigorous discussion. There’s no change in our policy; the ban stills exists,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) …

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