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Posts Tagged ‘debt ceiling agreement’

Pentagon Spending on Path to Bust Budget Caps, CBO Finds

  • November 6, 2014
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Pentagon spending is forecast to grow at an average annual rate of 1.2 percent over the next 15 years, resulting in a 20 percent increase in the defense budget by 2030, according to a report released Thursday by the Congressional Budget Office. The largest components of the DOD budget would grow by different amounts, however. The cost of operation and support, which accounts for about two-thirds of the department’s FY 2015 budget, would rise steadily through 2030, with average growth of 1.1 percent a year in real terms and cumulative growth of 18 percent. The growth in operation and support — which includes compensation for the department’s military and civilian employees, military health care, and various operation and maintenance activities — would occur despite a 6 percent decrease in the size of the military …

Congressional Staff Continue to Work toward Omnibus Spending Bill

  • November 5, 2014
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House and Senate Appropriations staffers continue to lay the groundwork for a fiscal 2015 omnibus spending bill to wrap up appropriations though next Oct. 1. But while Republican leaders in the House and Senate favor an omnibus to clear the decks for a GOP-led Congress next January, it’s still not clear whether House Republicans will go along with that approach. With Republicans increasing their House majority and gaining control of the Senate in Tuesday’s elections, conservatives likely will push for a second continuing resolution so they can rewrite bills in the new Congress to reflect GOP priorities …

Hagel Can Work with McCain, Pentagon Spokesman Says

  • November 4, 2014
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With Republicans poised to wrest control of the Senate, the Pentagon press secretary on Tuesday said that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has a strong relationship with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who is widely expected to take the gavel of the Senate Armed Services Committee if the GOP wins a majority of the chamber. “The secretary has a good relationship with many members of Congress, and I believe that he believes that relationship with Sen. McCain is also strong and productive, and it has been,” Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters. “And it has to be, given Sen. McCain’s position on the Senate Armed Services Committee …

Republican Control of Congress May Not Result in Raising Spending Caps

  • November 4, 2014
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Despite traditional support from the Republican Party for national defense, the GOP’s predicted capture of the Senate may not result in congressional action to lift the Budget Control Act spending caps on defense starting in fiscal 2016. While Republican appropriators and defense hawks, along with many Democrats, have urged repealing the 2011 law, a deficit reduction deal that satisfies both conservatives and President Obama is unlikely, reports CQ Roll Call. The White House would continue to insist on a deal that relaxes the caps on all discretionary spending, while Republicans would demand concessions to reform entitlement programs …

Association Executives Press Levin to Reverse Spending Cuts

  • November 2, 2014
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Two Washington advocacy groups last week wrote Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, urging him to lift spending caps that will harm Army readiness and jeopardize its ability to protect the nation. “The continued effects of sequestration on the Department of Defense will cause the Army, Active, Guard and Reserve to fall into unreadiness,” wrote Gordon Sullivan, president and CEO of Association of the U.S. Army, and Gus Hargett, president of the National Guard Association of the United States. Unless Congress steps in, the 2011 Budget Control Act spending caps will reduce the Army to 420,000 active soldiers, 315,000 National Guard members and 185,000 in the Army Reserve, “the smallest ground forces since 1940 …

DOD Budget Picture Remains Unfavorable, Comptroller Says

  • October 29, 2014
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Congress most likely won’t provide any long-term budget guidance until next spring when lawmakers will need to deal with the expiration of the debt ceiling, Pentagon Comptroller Mike McCord said this week. McCord said he’s not looking for lawmakers to act on the Budget Control Act spending caps when they return to Washington following next week’s elections, reported Defense One. “We don’t really expect that there’s going to be some kind of a budget deal. It doesn’t seem that likely in the lame duck session …

Readiness to Decline again if Spending Caps Remain, Army Officials Warn

  • October 29, 2014
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Senior Army leaders are increasingly concerned about the health of the force, as the department faces new demands and the likely return of sequester’s full impact in fiscal 2016. Unless Congress acts to relax the 2011 Budget Control Act spending caps, the Army’s end strength, modernization and readiness will remain out of balance at least until 2019, Maj. Gen. Gary Cheek, assistant deputy chief of staff for operations, said last week. It could take the Army as long as four years to fully recover from that state, he said. “We would come into that fiscal year with a readiness deficit … that we wouldn’t be able to drop money to fix …

Prospects for Enacting Relief from Sequester Improve as Global Crises Mount

  • October 28, 2014
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The confluence of multiple unplanned demands on the nation’s military and the possibility that Republicans will capture the Senate are helping the chances that Congress acts to shield the Pentagon from the full impact of the 2011 Budget Control Act spending caps starting in fiscal 2016. While it remains unlikely that Congress will abolish the stringent caps, the prospects are decent that it will provide some relief, Todd Harrison, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, told the Hill. “The only really feasible solution is a small deal that raises the defense budget caps by $5 to $10 billion and also raises the non-defense budget caps by the same amount …

The Trouble with a Full-Year CR

  • October 24, 2014
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While the top appropriators in the House and Senate are pushing for Congress to complete fiscal 2015 appropriations before the end of the year by passing a massive year-end omnibus, many lawmakers may prefer to move a yearlong continuing resolution that simply extends lasts year’s funding levels through Sept. 30, 2015. For some, the appeal of a full-year CR for all agencies would be getting appropriations out of the way so Congress can focus on other year-end business during the lame duck session. Such a move also would provide agencies certainty about their FY 2015 spending. For Republicans, it would be a way to deny Democrats a last chance to see their spending priorities implemented …

If Congress Opts for Spending Omnibus, Compromise over Individual Bills Attainable

  • October 19, 2014
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Lawmakers will only have a narrow window when they return to Capitol Hill next month to decide whether to aim for a massive year-end fiscal 2015 spending package or settle for a short- or long-term continuing resolution, but if they opt for the omnibus, overcoming differences between the two chamber’s individual spending bills should not be particularly arduous, according to an analysis by CQ. Differences between the House and Senate versions for many of the spending bills are no more than $1.5 billion or less. The House and Senate proposals for defense appropriations are only $1.3 billion apart, while competing versions of the military construction-veterans affairs measure are only $400 million apart …

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