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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

Ranchers Concerned about Possible Transfer of BLM Lands at White Sands to DOD

  • July 23, 2014
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Language in the House version of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill shifting control of hundreds of thousands of acres owned by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in the northern extension of White Sands Missile Range, N.M., to the Pentagon has ranchers concerned that the transfer could restrict their access for grazing and hunting. The provision is a reaction to the SunZia Southwest Transmission Project — a 515-mile, high-voltage transmission line traversing the northern extension of White Sands — which DOD officials had opposed until May when the developer agreed to bury five miles of the line to eliminate conflicts with training and weapons testing …

House Readiness Chair Reiterates Stance on New BRAC Round

  • July 23, 2014
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At a summit on maintaining military readiness under spending constraints, Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee, reiterated his position that Congress shouldn’t consider approving a new round of base closures until the Pentagon clarifies the future direction of force structure and its objectives for the next BRAC. “And if we’re going to get this right, we need to finish some things, we need to understand where’s end strength going to end up, how are we going to properly resource in the face of sequester, in the face of transitioning out of [the overseas contingency operations account] …

House Considers Moving FY’15 CR Next Week

  • July 22, 2014
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House leaders are considering voting on a fiscal 2015 continuing resolution (CR) next week that likely would extend past the November elections and possibly into December. No details on the duration or spending levels are available as Republican leaders have yet to make a final decision, reported CQ. While lawmakers already have conceded that a CR would be needed to keep the federal government running when the new fiscal year starts Oct. 1, a decision by the House to move a stopgap funding measure prior to the August recess would come much earlier than anticipated. Such an action also would definitely mark the end of activity on individual appropriations bills, and would leave the task of crafting an omnibus spending bill that would fund the federal government for the rest of FY 2015 until a lame-duck session.

Levin Concedes Possible Need for Backup Plan to Advance Authorization Bill

  • July 22, 2014
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Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of Armed Service Committee, has given staff members permission to begin discussions with their House colleagues over a compromise version of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill in the event the Senate again fails to approve its own version of the annual defense policy legislation. “I have given the green light to have preliminary discussions,” Levin said, reported Defense News. “We’ve got to have a fallback plan …

Prospect of CR at Start of FY’15 Approaches near Certainty

  • July 21, 2014
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Congress almost certainly will resort to a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the federal government running starting Oct. 1 as the Senate is unlikely to take up any of the fiscal 2015 spending bills that have been approved by the Appropriations Committee, including the defense and military construction-veterans affairs measures. The Senate has not debated any spending bills this year, a record of total gridlock that can be attributed to a failure of the chamber’s Democratic and Republican leaders to allow virtually any legislation to advance …

DOD Needs to Consider ‘Electricity Reliability’ in Project Decisions, Panel Says

  • July 20, 2014
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The military services should account for candidate projects’ impact on “electricity reliability” at installations when making decisions about purchase power agreements, performance contracts and other energy purchases, according to the report accompanying the fiscal 2015 defense spending bill that the Senate Appropriation Committee approved Thursday. The lawmakers commend DOD for its efforts to trim installation energy costs — which total about $4 billion across the department annually — and cited the use of energy savings performance contracts and utility energy service contracts in helping the military save money without the need for upfront federal investment …

Appropriations Panel Blocks Most Cost-Saving Reforms

  • July 17, 2014
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The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved a $490 billion fiscal 2015 defense spending bill that rejects many of the Pentagon’s cost-savings proposals intended to comply with the Budget Control Act spending caps. The measure blocks DOD’s plan to slash subsidies for military grocery stores by $200 million in FY 2015; however, it embraced one of the department’s reforms — limiting housing allowances below the rate of inflation. The plan to slow the growth in the basic allowance for housing would save $8.8 billion in personnel costs over the next five years, according to a committee summary of the spending bill …

DOD Awards $62.6M to Improve Facilities at California, Virginia School Districts

  • July 16, 2014
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The Defense Department is awarding $62.6 million to two school districts in Southern California and one in Northern Virginia to upgrade elementary and middle schools at neighboring military installations. The San Diego Unified School District will receive $34.1 million in grant funds to renovate, repair and construct new classrooms at Doris Miller and Joy Bright Hancock Elementary Schools at Naval Base San Diego. The district is providing an additional $8.5 million in non-federal matching funds for the two schools …

Durbin Not Optimistic over Prospect of Avoiding CR to Start FY’15

  • July 16, 2014
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Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) on Wednesday said he hoped the fiscal 2015 defense spending bill could go to the Senate floor and gain approval according to regular order, but he wasn’t particularly confident. Asked if the process of taking up spending bills one at a time was dead, he said, “I hope not, but it looks really tough,” reported CQ. “I’d like to bring it to the floor, I really would. I know it’s a long shot because we had a bad experience with three earlier bills, but I would really like to do that …

Senate Panel Votes to Preserve A-10 Fleet

  • July 15, 2014
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The Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee on Tuesday approved a $490 billion fiscal 2015 defense spending bill that allocates $338 million in funding to keep the A-10 close air support aircraft flying and reject the Air Force’s proposal to retire its Warthog fleet. The Air Force has said eliminating the A-10 would save $4.2 billion over the next five years, but Tuesday’s vote marks the latest indication that Congress will keep the aircraft flying next year. The House Appropriations Committee had embraced the retirement plan, but House lawmakers last month overwhelmingly voted to reverse that decision …

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