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Posts Tagged ‘debt ceiling agreement’

Senate Democrats Make Their Stand on Defense Spending Bill

  • June 19, 2015
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Senate Democrats on Thursday blocked the chamber from starting debate on the fiscal 2016 defense spending bill, the first step in a strategy designed to force Republicans to enter talks to raise the Budget Control Act spending caps. The chamber’s 50-45 vote fell 10 votes short of the 60 votes need to proceed to the $575 billion measure and left uncertain how Congress would enact spending bills for the next fiscal year. The Democrats’ risky move had been expected, as party leaders had threatened in recent weeks to filibuster appropriations bills that either stick to the spending caps or shield the Pentagon from the budget limits while ignoring domestic agencies. The defense measure stashes $38 billion of funding beyond the Obama administration’s request in the department’s overseas contingency operations (OCO) account to get around the statutory spending cap …

Veto Threat is Real, White House Press Secretary Says

  • June 18, 2015
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President Obama will veto the fiscal 2016 defense spending bill absent a deal that provides budget relief to domestic agencies, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Wednesday. Earnest’s response to a reporter’s question represents a somewhat stiffer threat than the typical language the Office of Management and Budget uses in objecting to legislation, namely that the president’s “senior advisers would recommend” a veto, reported CQ. Earnest described several reasons why Obama would veto the defense spending bill unless the budget caps were lifted for non-defense agencies. “One is that the funding mechanism that Republicans have floated is one that many leading Republicans have previously described as nothing more than a gimmick …

Budget Impasse Fast Approaching in Senate

  • June 14, 2015
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Progress on fiscal 2016 appropriations bills could come to a screeching halt in the Senate this week, with Democrats vowing to block the chamber from beginning debate on all 12 spending bills, including the defense measure which the Senate is expected to turn to shortly. A deadlock in the Senate could slow work on appropriations on the other side of the Capitol as well, reported CQ. Democrats and the White House oppose GOP’s budget framework, which sticks to the stringent budget cap for non-defense spending but offers relief to the Pentagon by stashing $38 billion in extra funding in DOD’s overseas contingency operations account …

House Adopts Language Barring BRAC

  • June 12, 2015
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House lawmakers approved an amendment prohibiting the Defense Department from spending funds to propose, plan for or carry out a new round of base closures in fiscal 2016, before passing on Thursday the underlying defense appropriations bill for next year. The move probably won’t have any practical effect as this year’s defense authorization bill likely will reject the Obama administration’s request to hold a round in 2017, but it does underscore lawmakers’ opposition to BRAC. The chamber previously adopted similar language when it took up the FY 2016 military construction-veterans affairs spending measure in April. Much of the debate over the legislation focused on its use of DOD’s war account to sidestep the statutory spending caps in order to meet the Pentagon’s budget request …

First Test of Democrats’ Pledge to Block Spending Bills in Senate Coming Soon

  • June 10, 2015
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If you were looking for signs that Democrats and Republicans would work together to pass spending bills for next year, Tuesday wasn’t the day to be on Capitol Hill. After losing a vote over an amendment to block the GOP’s gambit for evading the statutory spending caps to bolster the Pentagon’s budget, Senate Democrats reiterated their pledge to block all spending bills from moving to the floor. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), the No. 3 Democrat in the Senate, and Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), ranking member on the Appropriations Committee, insisted Democrats would stick together to block motions to proceed to fiscal 2016 appropriations bills. “Our big fight is going to be on the appropriations bills …

Senate Blocks Attempt to Restrict Use of OCO Funds

  • June 10, 2015
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In the most significant policy battle the Senate expects to face as it debates the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill, the chamber on Tuesday rejected a Democratic effort to stop lawmakers from authorizing the use of tens of billions of dollars in extra war funds to sidestep the statutory spending caps in a 46-51 vote. Following the vote, it’s not clear whether Senate Democrats will try to block the annual policy bill, S. 1376, from advancing in the chamber. Afterwards, Democrats vowed to stop the GOP from going ahead with its strategy to offer the Pentagon budget relief while ignoring domestic agencies by blocking progress on spending bills …

Democrats’ Shutdown Talk Intended to Force GOP’s Hand

  • June 9, 2015
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An increasing number of senior Democratic lawmakers have been warning that the federal government is headed toward another shutdown when the new fiscal year begins as a result of the brewing dispute over fiscal 2016 spending. “We’re now kind of paddling down this river serenely when we all know there is this huge waterfall ahead. And if our Republican colleagues want to keep quietly paddling toward a government shutdown, that’s their choice,” Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), ranking member on the House Budget Committee, said last week. Pete Visclosky (D-Ind.), ranking member on the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, noted the similarities with the issues surrounding appropriations in FY 2014 when a partisan dispute resulted in a 16-day shutdown. “While not a mirror image of two years ago, the FY 2016 process is careening towards a similar fate …

White House Press Secretary Indicates There Is Room for a Budget Deal

  • June 7, 2015
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The White House would not insist on a tax hike to offset any budget relief offered as part of a prospective deal to relax the Budget Control Act spending caps, Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Friday. Earnest noted that the December 2013 Ryan-Murray agreement — which provided DOD a total of $31 billion in spending above the caps in FY 2014 and 2015 — did not include a tax hike when he was asked about not insisting on a tax increase as a prerequisite for a budget deal. “What we have said is that that is the model that should be pursued,” he said, reported CQ Roll Call. The 2013 agreement did include some fees, however …

Senate Debate on Authorization Bill Marked by Quarrel over Budget Caps

  • June 5, 2015
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The possibility that Senate Democrats may filibuster the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill loomed over a debate Thursday stuck on the dispute over the measure’s heavy reliance on DOD’s war account to sidestep stringent spending caps. While some Democrats have indicated they will try to stop appropriations measures from advancing in the Senate, they have not yet settled on a strategy for the annual defense policy bill, reported CQ Roll Call. The authorization bill employs the House-Senate budget framework that adds $38 billion to the department’s overseas contingency operations account, which is exempt from the caps, to meet the Pentagon’s base budget request …

White House Highlights Need for BRAC in Veto Threat over Senate Measure

  • June 3, 2015
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The Office of Management and Budget on Tuesday cited the lack of language authorizing a new BRAC round as one of the key factors that could prompt President Obama to veto the Senate version of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill. OMB’s “Statement of Administration Policy” echoed the veto threat the agency issued last month in response to the House version of the policy bill. Both statements highlighted the need for a BRAC round and the bills’ reliance on DOD’s war account to boost its budget rather than raising the Budget Control Act spending caps as issues that would need to be resolved before the president would sign the legislation …

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