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Posts Tagged ‘debt ceiling agreement’

Ryan Sets Sights on ‘Medium’ Budget Deal

  • September 30, 2014
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A “grand bargain” budget agreement replacing the existing Budget Control Act spending caps with alternate deficit reduction measures most likely is off the table for the remainder of the Obama presidency, but a smaller-scale deal may be possible, says Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Budget Committee. Ryan blames Obama’s unwillingness to consider wholesale reform of entitlement programs for the failure of Congress and the administration in recent years to reach a deal to get the nation’s debt under control. As a result, he is abandoning his pursuit of a comprehensive deficit reduction agreement …

House Republicans Question Defense Cuts amid Renewed Mideast Operations

  • September 29, 2014
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Senior House Republicans are questioning how the Pentagon can adhere to the 2011 Budget Control Act spending caps at the same time it is forced to respond to the rise of the Islamic State and other missions around the globe. On Monday, House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said the defense spending cap slated to be imposed in fiscal 2016 would create a challenge as the nation opposes the Islamic State, reported the Hill. “I don’t think sequestration and increased efforts in Syria, in Iraq are compatible,” Rogers said …

Budget Caps, Global Demands Jeopardize Army Response

  • September 21, 2014
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The fiscal 2016 budget Pentagon officials currently are working on could represent a “breaking point” if Congress fails to extend relief to the budget caps at the same time global threats continue to surface, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno told reporters Friday. The active Army, which now stands at 510,000 soldiers, is slated to drop to 490,000 by the end of FY 2015, 470,000 by FY 2016 and 420,000 by FY 2019. Earlier this year, Odierno testified that a reduction to 450,000 would pose a significant security risk, while an end strength of 420,000 would prevent the Army from carrying out its current strategy …

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 …

Ft. Hood Should Be Shielded from Next Round of Army Cuts, Support Group Official Says

  • July 27, 2014
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Because it ranks as one of the Army’s top installations based on military value, Fort Hood is unlikely to suffer a worst-case scenario loss of 14,606 soldiers and 1,394 civilians when the service determines how to eliminate up to 70,000 additional troops by 2020, according to the head of the post’s community-based support group. “They will objectively analyze the effect a base has on its surrounding area, and the area’s deemed high military value will be unaffected by major changes,” Bill Parry, executive director of the Heart of Texas Defense Alliance, said Thursday at a meeting of the Copperas Cove Economic Development Corp. In fact, the central Texas post could grow if the Pentagon were to conduct a new round of base closures, he said …

Central Kentucky Officials Seek Community Support to Fend off Cuts at Ft. Knox

  • July 21, 2014
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Local and state officials in Kentucky’s Heartland are urging residents in communities neighboring Fort Knox to write the Army in support of the post as the service considers where to eliminate personnel as it further shrinks its active-duty end strength. “We need the public’s help in making our case,” said Brad Richardson, president and CEO of the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce and a member of the group One Knox. The supplemental programmatic environmental assessment released by the Army last month evaluated a maximum reduction at Fort Knox of 5,954 soldiers and 1,651 civilians …

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 …

Wittman Tries to Raise the Profile of ‘Readiness’

  • July 15, 2014
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The budget accounts that fund military readiness, operation and maintenance, typically suffer disproportionate cuts when the defense budget needs to be trimmed in the near term because other accounts often are tied up in long-term spending commitments. But while operation accounts are seen as a convenient place to take budget cuts, Virginia Rep. Rob Wittman (R), chairman of the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee, would like to change that perception, especially as the Pentagon needs to cope with steeper cuts in the coming years …

Once More unto the Breach: Central Louisiana Leaders Urge Support for Ft. Polk

  • July 6, 2014
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One year after a local outpouring of support for Fort Polk helped to bolster the post’s position amid an effort to trim the Army’s active-duty end strength to 490,000, area leaders again beseeched the public to act to prevent the installation from losing up to 60 percent of its personnel. “Last year, for the first time, we changed the perception of Fort Polk by the Army,” Michael Reese, chairman of Fort Polk Progress, said at a press conference Wednesday. The Army received about 4,300 responses from area residents last year during the public comment period as it assessed how to restructure its brigade combat teams …

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