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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

DOD Readiness Chief Gains Senate Confirmation

  • June 25, 2014
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The Senate on Wednesday confirmed Jessica Wright to be the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, the department’s senior official responsible for issues related to military and civilian personnel, including quality of life. Wright has been serving as acting undersecretary for personnel and readiness since January 2013, and previously served as assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs. The Senate Armed Services Committee approved her nomination in January, but a floor vote had been delayed since then …

Will Unfunded Milcon Requirements Harm Readiness, Authorization Committee Asks

  • June 25, 2014
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The Defense Department’s fiscal 2015 military construction request is 40 percent lower than it was in FY 2014, prompting the Senate Armed Services Committee to ask the department to assess the risk to readiness it is accepting by deferring many of its construction requirements. The panel said it was worried about the likely impact of curtailing milcon spending on the number of facilities in poor to failing condition, according to its report accompanying the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill. “The committee is concerned that milcon cuts will ultimately lead to lasting negative impacts to our military’s readiness and their ability to effectively respond to crisis abroad and at home …

Senate Looks to Regain Momentum on Spending Bills

  • June 25, 2014
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Senate appropriators and the chamber’s leadership continue to discuss ways to bring a package of three domestic spending bills back to the floor after Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) last week withdrew the fiscal 2015 “minibus” from consideration due to a dispute with Republicans over amendments. So far, Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) said she is not considering sending individual spending measures to the floor as a way to advance the fiscal 2015 appropriations process …

Candidates Highlight Their Ability to Protect Bases in Looming BRAC Round

  • June 24, 2014
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A staple of campaigns across the country has been claims by incumbents and challengers as to how they are the better candidate to ensure a local installation survives the threat of additional base closures. In the Republican race for the Senate in Mississippi, incumbent Thad Cochran has relied on exactly that kind of argument to gain an advantage against his tea party rival. “Sen. Cochran has the power and experience to protect the Gulf Coast …

Policy Bill Debate Still Not on Senate Calendar

  • June 24, 2014
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Senate leaders still have not scheduled time to debate the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill on the chamber floor, Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Tuesday. Levin said Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) understands the importance of the measure, but at this point, “I have no way of knowing when the leader’s going to find a place for it.” The chairman is hoping to avoid a repeat of last year when the Senate didn’t take up the bill until November …

Spending on Unused Buildings Prohibited, under Appropriations Bill Amendment

  • June 22, 2014
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The Defense Department would be barred from spending money maintaining facilities it no longer uses, under an amendment intended to eliminate wasteful spending that was approved last week during House debate over the fiscal 2015 defense spending bill. “With the Department of Defense managing hundreds, possibly thousands, of buildings and structures it has rated at zero percent utilization, this common sense measure could save the American taxpayers tens of millions of dollars in this year alone …

Hurdle in Senate over Appropriations Could Result in Stopgap for FY’15

  • June 22, 2014
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The roadblock the Senate encountered last week as it attempted to debate a package of three domestic spending bills raises the possibility that Congress will resort to a continuing resolution to fund the government at the start of the new fiscal year. While Senate leaders still have an opportunity to break the impasse over amendments that prompted Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to pull the fiscal 2015 “minibus” from the floor, if the chamber fails to clear any spending measures, a continuing resolution would be needed for all 12 of the annual spending bills …

Optimism over Spending Bills Dims after Senate Dispute

  • June 19, 2014
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Apparent momentum in Congress to pass individual spending bills through regular order took a wrong turn Thursday after the Senate suspended debate on a package of three spending bills after the two parties failed to reach agreement on dealing with amendments. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pulled the fiscal 2015 “minibus” — made up of the Commerce-Justice-Science, Transportation-HUD and Agriculture measures — from the Senate floor after Republicans scoffed at Reid’s insistence on a 60-vote threshold to pass amendments …

House Votes to Oppose BRAC, Preserve A-10 Fleet

  • June 19, 2014
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In two votes that succinctly summarize the challenge the Pentagon faces in planning for mandated budget cuts, House lawmakers voted Thursday night to bar DOD from spending any funds to plan for or carry out another BRAC round, and to prevent it from implementing the Air Force’s proposal to retire its fleet of A-10 close air support aircraft. The two votes came during House debate of the fiscal 2015 defense spending bill. Final passage of the bill is expected today …

Despite Long Odds, BRAC Still Worth Fighting For, James Says

  • June 18, 2014
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Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James is pessimistic about the prospect that Congress will approve the Pentagon’s request for a new BRAC round in 2017, but believes DOD will continue trying to persuade lawmakers of its importance at a time when it is coping with stringent spending caps. “As a person who came out of business, the last things a corporation would do is spend money on facilities that are no longer needed,” James told defense reporters Wednesday. “You would never, never, never run a business this way. I realize government is not a business. But there are certain principles [that] make good common sense …

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