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Posts Tagged ‘debt ceiling agreement’

Size of Army to Remain Unsettled for Several Years, Odierno Says

  • May 31, 2015
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Gen. Ray Odierno had hoped the Obama administration and Congress could have settled on a final end strength for the Army by the time he steps down as the Army’s chief of staff this fall, but the issue likely will remain undecided for several more years, he told reporters last week. “I thought by now we would have had that resolved,” said Odierno. “That was a major thing I wish I could’ve had done so the new chief could focus on continuing to move the Army forward, but he’s still going to have to deal with this issue for at least two or three more years,” he said, reported Army Times. The Army already is slated to shrink its active-duty end strength to 490,000 soldiers by Sept. 30, with further reductions cutting the force to 450,000 over the next few years …

Neither Side Prepared to Make First Move on Spending Cap Deal

  • May 27, 2015
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It’s looking more and more that any negotiations between GOP congressional leaders and the White House over lifting the Budget Control Act spending caps will not start until the new fiscal year approaches. On Wednesday, Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan said the White House has no plans to reach out to Republican leaders as its opening offer was its fiscal 2016 budget request delivered in February. “We’ve actually put our cards on the table, if you will, to say ‘Here’s what we want. Here’s how we would pay for it,’ and the next step really needs to be Republicans coming to the table to say, ‘Here’s our proposal on that …

Senate Democrats Promise Rough Going on Appropriations

  • May 25, 2015
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Senate Democrats will participate in committee work on fiscal 2016 spending legislation but once the bills move to the floor, the party will block them from advancing, Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, vowed last week. “Unless there is a new [spending] agreement before these bills come to the floor, we will vote against the motion to proceed,” Mikulski said Thursday after the panel approved its first spending bill of the year. The gambit is designed to pressure Republicans to negotiate on a new budget deal to raise the statutory spending caps …

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 …

Democrats to Oppose House Authorization Bill over Reliance on OCO Funds

  • May 13, 2015
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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will whip Democrats against the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill over opposition to the measure’s reliance on DOD’s overseas contingency operations (OCO) account to get around the Budget Control Act spending caps. The unprecedented move follows a DOD briefing Wednesday for House Democrats that concluded, “this bill is the wrong bill,” according to House Democratic Caucus Chair Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.). The annual policy legislation typically passes with bipartisan support. Equally surprising was the announcement by Adam Smith (D-Wash.), ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, that he also would vote against the measure …

Resolution to Budget Dispute Not Coming Soon, Republicans Indicate

  • May 3, 2015
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In the face of calls from the White House for bipartisan talks to lift the statutory spending caps, senior Republicans say any negotiations will need to wait until the fiscal 2016 appropriations process plays itself out. After the White House issued veto threats on two appropriations bills considered by the House last week — including the military construction-veterans affairs spending measure — the Obama administration and congressional Republicans appear to be on a collision course. The statements from the Office of Management and Budget indicated that President Obama would not sign any spending bills that follow congressional Republicans’ plan to stick to the Budget Control Act levels while providing relief only to the Pentagon by stashing tens of billions of additional dollars in its war account …

Congress Close to Clearing FY’16 Budget Resolution

  • May 3, 2015
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The House adopted the fiscal 2016 conference budget resolution last Thursday, a compromise that strips out a procedural hurdle that could have blocked the Senate from allocating tens of billions of extra dollars included in DOD’s war account. To evade the $523 billion Budget Control Act cap on national security spending, the budget blueprints advanced in both the House and Senate allot $96 billion — including $58 billion requested by the Obama administration and $38 billion in extra funds — to the department’s overseas contingency operations account. That account is not subject to the budget caps …

GOP Plan to Rely on OCO Funds to Boost Defense Spending Survives House Vote

  • April 30, 2015
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The House on Thursday passed the fiscal 2016 military construction-veterans affairs spending bill, after a bipartisan effort to bar the use of funds from DOD’s overseas contingency operations account for non-war spending nearly upset Republicans’ plans to rely on the department’s war account to sidestep the statutory caps on the defense budget. Instead, Republican leaders were able to overcome support for three amendments introduced by Reps. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) that would have collectively eliminated $532 million in military construction funding allocated through the OCO. Appropriators added the funds to the department’s war account, which isn’t subject to the Budget Control Act spending caps, as part of the GOP strategy to use the OCO as a relief valve for defense spending that doesn’t fit under the $523 billion cap on national security funds …

House Votes on Milcon Spending Bill Held up over Reliance on OCO Funds

  • April 29, 2015
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House Republicans postponed debate on the fiscal 2016 Military Construction-Veterans Affairs spending bill on Wednesday evening partially over fears that lawmakers would adopt amendments barring the use of funds from DOD’s overseas contingency operations (OCO) account to escape the statutory cap on defense spending. A series of amendments introduced by Reps. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) would have effectively eliminated $532 million in military construction funds allocated through the OCO, reported CQ Roll Call. Appropriators added the funds to the department’s war account, which isn’t subject to the Budget Control Act spending caps, as part of the GOP strategy to use the OCO as a relief valve for defense spending that doesn’t fit under the $523 billion cap on national security funds. But Van Hollen and Mulvaney called the shift of funds from DOD’s base budget to the OCO a “gimmick” to evade the caps …

Budget Conferees Make Case for Pentagon Spending

  • April 20, 2015
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Republican lawmakers highlighted the importance of funding defense programs at the initial meeting Monday of the House-Senate budget conference, signaling the likelihood that the compromise fiscal 2016 budget resolution will satisfy defense hawks. “The world is just more dangerous today than it was in 2011 when we passed the Budget Control Act,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions, a member of the Armed Services Committee. In their budget blueprints, both chambers added $38 billion in spending to DOD’s overseas contingency operations account as a way of sidestepping the statutory ceiling on defense spending in FY 2016 …

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