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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

Senate Committee Advances Milcon Funding Bill

  • May 21, 2015
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The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved a fiscal 2016 spending bill that would provide $8.1 billion for military construction and family housing programs, representing a $1.3 billion boost over current year funding and a significant step toward restoring milcon funding to levels allocated as recently as FY 2014. Spending on military construction programs dropped about one-third in the current year as DOD opted to defer a portion of its construction program to fund higher priorities such as operations and readiness. The House also voted to increase milcon spending, but only to $7.7 billion. Both chambers’ spending bills fall short of the president’s request for $8.4 billion in FY 2016 …

Effort to Ease HUBZone Eligibility Requirements at Closed Bases Gains Momentum

  • May 20, 2015
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A long-standing effort to make it easier for tenants at closed installations to qualify for the Small Business Administration’s HUBZone program may finally bear fruit this year after language to relax the program’s eligibility requirements was included in the Senate version of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill. The provision, which would loosen the requirement for 35 percent of a HUBZone participant’s employees to live within a HUBZone, also was included in the House version of the annual policy bill. As a result, the prospect that the changes make it into the final version of the authorization bill is very favorable. The effort to amend the HUBZone program — an initiative offering preferential access to federal procurements to businesses in distressed areas — has been led by Maine’s congressional delegation to support the reuse project at the former Brunswick Naval Air Station …

Senate Milcon Bill Surpasses House Panel’s Spending Recommendation

  • May 20, 2015
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Spending on military construction and family housing programs in fiscal 2016 would rise $1.3 billion over current year funding to $8.1 billion, under the spending bill marked up Tuesday by a Senate Appropriations subcommittee. The milcon spending level recommended by the Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee would be $400 million higher than the amount included in the appropriations bill passed by the House on April 30. Both versions, though, take a significant step toward restoring milcon funding to levels allocated as recently as FY 2014. Spending on military construction programs dropped about one-third in the current year as the department opted to defer a portion of its construction program to fund higher priorities such as operations and readiness …

House Defense Spending Bill Employs Extra Funds

  • May 19, 2015
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DOD would receive $579 billion in discretionary spending in fiscal 2016, an increase of $24.4 billion above the current level and $800 million above the president’s request, under the draft defense spending bill unveiled Tuesday by the House Appropriations Committee. The spending bill takes advantage of $88 billion included in DOD’s overseas contingency operations account under the budget resolution adopted by the House and Senate. That represents the department’s share of the $96 billion in funds allocated to the OCO account to elude the Budget Control Act cap on defense spending. The administration had requested only $58 billion for the war account …

Senate Bill Calls for Privatization Pilot for Commissaries

  • May 19, 2015
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At least five military commissaries would be privatized under a two-year pilot program, according to the version of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill passed by the Senate Armed Services Committee Thursday. In addition to the pilot program, the bill calls for the Governmental Accountability Office to assess the potential costs and benefits of privatizing the entire network of military grocery stores, reported Stars and Stripes. The committee has not yet released the bill text or committee report. Veterans of Foreign Wars issued a statement opposing the Senate plan because it would cut into the discounts enjoyed by military families and veterans …

Senate Plans to Take up Authorization Bill Next Month

  • May 19, 2015
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The Senate is planning to debate this year’s defense authorization bill on the chamber floor, which would represent a huge accomplishment after two consecutive years when the Senate did not have that opportunity. A Senate Armed Services Committee aide told the Hill Monday that the committee is preparing to bring up the measure it passed last week to the floor in June. In each of the past two years, the annual defense policy bill did not follow the normal path to passage after the Senate failed to let lawmakers debate the committee-passed version …

House Bill Would Relax Restrictions on Funding Public Infrastructure Projects on Guam

  • May 18, 2015
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The draft fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill passed by the House last week would amend existing restrictions on the development of civilian infrastructure on Guam by allowing funding for projects identified in a report from the federal Economic Adjustment Committee. The FY 2014 defense authorization bill had restricted the expenditure of any funds on public infrastructure on Guam that had not been specifically authorized by law. That statute also called for EAC to consider assistance — including assistance to support public infrastructure requirements — needed to accommodate the realignment of Marine Corps forces from Okinawa …

Senate’s ‘Reform’ Authorization Bill Seeks to Downsize Pentagon

  • May 17, 2015
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The fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill passed Thursday by the Senate Armed Services Committee would launch a reorganization of the Defense Department in an attempt to eliminate unnecessary overhead and direct limited funding to operations and readiness. The annual policy bill would reduce funding for headquarters and administrative functions for military services, defense agencies, combatant commands, the office of the secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff by 7.5 percent for four years, totaling 30 percent by the fourth year. The cuts would yield $1.7 billion in savings in FY 2016 and recurring savings of $6.8 billion per year by the fourth year …

Pentagon Required to Evaluate Army Downsizing under Amendment to House Bill

  • May 17, 2015
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The secretary of defense would be required to certify that an active-duty end strength for the Army below 490,000 soldiers will be adequate to meet the nation’s defense strategy, under an amendment added by House lawmakers last week to the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill. The amendment, approved by voice vote, was offered by Republican Reps. John Fleming (La.) and Elise Stefanik (N.Y.). Both represent Army communities that stand to lose thousands of troops in the Army’s next round of restructuring. Officials are expected to announce early this summer how they will realign the service’s end strength from 490,000, the Army’s target for the end of FY 2015, to 420,000 by FY 2020 …

Authorization Bill Passes in House despite Democratic Opposition

  • May 17, 2015
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House Republicans overcame an uncharacteristic lack of Democratic support on Friday to pass the chamber’s fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill, 269-151. The opposition from Democrats did not stem from significant differences over defense programs but, rather, from the effort by the party, along with President Obama, to fight the legislation’s reliance on DOD’s overseas contingency operations account to evade the statutory spending caps. The legislation, H.R. 1735, would authorize DOD to spend $38 billion on operations and maintenance needs that ordinarily would be funded in the department’s base budget …

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