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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

Thornberry Firmly against Holding a BRAC Round Soon

  • September 8, 2014
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Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), considered the frontrunner to replace Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) in the next Congress as chair of the Armed Services Committee, told supporters of Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., last week that he opposes conducting a new round of base closures in the near future. “I don’t think you are going to see a BRAC anytime soon. We haven’t paid for the last one …

Congress Focuses on CR

  • September 7, 2014
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Passing a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the federal government running in the new fiscal year is one of Congress’ highest priorities before it breaks for the November elections, with House lawmakers planning to begin work on the measure this week. At this point, the fiscal 2015 stopgap is expected to last through Dec. 11 or 12, allowing lawmakers to tackle a year-end spending measure during a lame-duck session. After last year’s government shutdown, congressional leaders will resist adding provisions that could disrupt the bill’s progress, but lawmakers still will try to boost pet programs or address policy issues in the measure …

House Looks to Move Clean CR

  • September 4, 2014
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The short-term continuing resolution (CR) the House takes up next week to keep the government running after Sept. 30 will largely be free of pet provisions requested by lawmakers. As the only legislation Congress is likely to advance before the November elections, the stopgap will attract numerous requests from members to include favored projects or other policy riders, but only a handful of special provisions are likely to be included, reports CQ. House Republicans likely will include several “anomalies” in the CR, including a short-term extension of the Export-Import Bank and, possibly, extra funds to fight wildfires and to handle border security …

Pentagon Spending Plans Far Exceed Budget Caps, Analyst Says

  • September 4, 2014
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When defense officials rolled out the department’s five-year spending plan in March, they acknowledged it exceeded the 2011 Budget Control Act limits by $116 billion and would require congressional action to relax the caps. The actual cost of funding the Pentagon’s fiscal 2015-2019 budget may require $200 billion to $300 billion in additional spending, however, due to a number of assumptions that are unlikely to be realized, according to a new report from the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. One shortcoming of the five-year plan is its failure to fund the force structure called for in the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review and 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance …

Global Unrest Creates Possible Opening to Relax Spending Caps

  • September 2, 2014
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The rise of the Islamic State along with other emerging threats could provide an opening for lawmakers to reverse defense cuts, or at least offer the Pentagon additional flexibility to respond to the threats, but it’s not yet clear that such an effort could succeed at this point, budget experts say. As the number of hotspots expands across the globe, talk about various options Congress could pursue to pay for a military response — including ongoing airstrikes in Iraq and possible ones in Syria — has been on the upswing …

Pentagon Embarks on New Streamlining Campaign

  • September 1, 2014
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The Defense Department is preparing to launch a new initiative to reduce overhead and administrative costs in the office of the secretary of defense and the 16 defense agencies, according to Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work. The effort, which will bypass the military services and combatant commands, will partially rely on outside experts from the Defense Business Board and Business Executives for National Security …

House Republicans Likely to Push for Longer CR

  • August 25, 2014
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While both parties agree on the need to pass a stopgap spending bill in September, a dispute may break out over how long it should last. With the potential for Republicans to gain control of the Senate next year, some House Republicans may push for a fiscal 2015 continuing resolution (CR) to extend until sometime in 2015. Democrats, however, want the stopgap to end in December so lawmakers can hash out a deal on an omnibus after the midterm elections. “This could lead to a real standoff,” a senior House Republican leadership aide told Government Executive …

Prospective Senate Chairman Looks to Raise His Profile

  • August 24, 2014
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Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed (D) appears to be trying to boost his image, primarily through appearances on Sunday morning talk shows, to get ready for the possibility that he will become the next chairman of the Armed Services Committee. For that to happen, the Democrats would have to retain control of the Senate in the next Congress, an iffy prospect at this point. “If the Senate doesn’t flip [to Republicans], he assuredly gets the gavel,” Mackenzie Eaglen, a defense analyst at the American Enterprise Institute, told the Hill. The former Army Ranger is expected to be elected easily in November to his fourth term in the Senate. If Democrats succeed in retaining the majority, Reed will find himself contending with Republican committee members with much higher profiles, including Sens. John McCain (Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.), according to the story. Current Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) is retiring at the end of the year.

Asia-Pacific Pivot Remains Key to Strategy, DOD Official Says

  • August 14, 2014
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The Pentagon remains committed to the military’s rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific region despite a number of hot spots in other parts of the world, DOD Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters Thursday. “Given the fact that there’s a lot going on in the world, that we’re still making these visits and still having these discussions, speaks volumes about how important we believe the Asia-Pacific theater is …

Question over Reach of Language Urging States to Offer In-State Tuition to Veterans

  • August 12, 2014
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Language in the recent VA health care reform legislation encouraging public universities to charge recently separated veterans in-state tuition rates may not be as forceful as lawmakers intended. The bill, signed into law by President Obama last week, does not force states to charge veterans in-state tuition at public universities, but schools that charge higher rates would not be eligible to receive veterans’ Post-9/11 GI Bill and Montgomery GI Bill education benefits. Lawmakers believed the provision would prevent a school from receiving GI Bill benefits from any veterans, including those paying in-state tuition, if even one eligible veteran was charged more than the in-state rates …

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