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Posts Tagged ‘debt ceiling agreement’

Senate Budget Hearing Overlooks Shortfall in Defense Spending

  • February 4, 2015
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The urgency associated with raising the statutory cap on defense spending was all but ignored on Tuesday as the Senate Budget Committee held a hearing on President Obama’s fiscal 2016 budget request. Neither Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) nor ranking member Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) mentioned the need to raise the Budget Control Act cap on defense spending during their opening statements. Enzi stressed the “overspending” in Obama’s proposal that would expand the national debt, reported Defense News. The committee, along with its House counterpart, is responsible for developing an FY 2016 budget resolution, a document some GOP lawmakers are hoping calls for relaxing the defense caps …

FY’16 Budget Retains Plans from Previous Request

  • February 3, 2015
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The $534 billion fiscal 2016 budget request top Pentagon officials unveiled Monday largely retains the same cuts in force structure and cost-saving reforms included in last year’s FY 2015 proposal. “The size of the active force, the size of the reserve components, the number of ships or fighter squadrons — we’re still trying to hold true to the end points we have been shooting for … under the Quadrennial Defense Review,” said DOD Comptroller Mike McCord. Unlike the FY 2015 budget though, this year’s proposal ignores the Budget Control Act caps, raising the question of what plans will need to be scaled back if Congress fails to relax the spending limits …

Modest Deal to Lift Defense Cap Likely, Expert Says

  • February 1, 2015
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Lawmakers likely will reach an agreement to relax the fiscal 2016 spending cap on defense programs along the lines of the bipartisan budget deal reached in late 2013 that provided DOD moderate relief for FY 2014 and 2015, according to a top defense analyst. “I would bet that they end up raising them $5 billion to $10 billion,” Todd Harrison, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, told reporters Friday. The 2013 deal raised the Budget Control Act cap for both defense and domestic spending by $22 billion in FY 2014 and $9 billion in the current year …

Obama’s Attempt to Overturn Sequester Runs into Republican Roadblock

  • January 30, 2015
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Congressional Republicans have made it clear they will not support President Obama’s plan to pay for a fiscal 2016 budget request that tops the statutory spending caps by $74 billion through an unspecified combination of spending cuts and the elimination of tax breaks. Many Republicans would join Obama and Democrats in lifting the Budget Control Act spending cap for the Pentagon, but they are unwilling to provide higher spending for domestic programs as well, reported CQ. An aide to House Budget Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) outright rejected the budget proposal which the president is scheduled to submit to Congress on Monday …

McCain, Service Chiefs Warn about Impact of Spending Caps

  • January 28, 2015
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The nation’s top military officers on Wednesday bemoaned the impact of the Budget Control Act spending caps on national security, warning lawmakers they will not be able to carry out the nation’s defense strategy if Congress fails to offer any relief from pending sequestration. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno told the Senate Armed Services Committee his force is as unready as at any other point in its 239-year history, with only 33 percent of the service’s brigades “ready to the extent we would expect them to be if asked to fight.” If sequestration is imposed starting in fiscal 2016, Odierno said the Army will need to cut 60,000 soldiers after already eliminating 80,000 troops in recent years …

FY’16 Budget Request Would Offer Healthy Spending Growth for DOD

  • January 27, 2015
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The five-year spending plan the Defense Department plans to release next week along with its fiscal 2016 budget request will exceed the statutory spending caps by $150 billion, amounting to “little more than a wish list,” reported CQ. DOD will request $534 billion for its FY 2016 base budget, topping the 2011 Budget Control Act spending cap by almost $35 billion. The FY 2017 and 2018 budget projections would surpass the caps by $35 billion and $32 billion respectively, according to a source familiar with the proposal. The FY 2016 budget, after adding in the $52 billion the department is seeking for the overseas contingency operations account, represents a $15 billion jump over current year funding …

Hagel Offers Warning on Spending Caps

  • January 22, 2015
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During what he called one of his last official news conferences, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told reporters Thursday that many of the gains achieved by the military will be lost if lawmakers fail to provide DOD relief from the statutory spending cap for fiscal 2016. “The progress we have made will quickly evaporate if sequestration returns in 2016,” Hagel said. “We need long-term budget predictability and we need the flexibility to prioritize and make the difficult decisions … more effectively …

Congress Needs to Maintain Vigilant Oversight of Pentagon, Thornberry Says

  • January 20, 2015
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There are multiple reasons why lawmakers would ignore many of the Obama administration’s recent belt-tightening reforms such as holding a new BRAC round, Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), the new chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said Tuesday. Thornberry referred to a number of DOD proposals to trim force structure, including retiring the A-10 close air support aircraft, not refueling the U.S.S. George Washington aircraft carrier and shutting down the assembly line for M1 Abrams tanks. “Sometimes the Pentagon is penny-wise, pound-foolish. Sometimes there is parochialism within the Pentagon …

Thornberry Hopeful Lawmakers Will Relax Spending Cap

  • January 19, 2015
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Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), the new chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said he was optimistic Congress would relax the stringent cap on defense spending for fiscal 2016, but at the same time offered no clear strategy for achieving that aim. “I think we will find some way to improve the situation and I think we definitely should,” Thornberry told CQ last week. “And I really believe that most Republicans and Democrats in the House also agree with that — that there needs to be a fix to sequestration,” he said. The chairman acknowledged, however, that it is not clear how the two parties could strike a deal to lift the defense spending cap in the 2011 Budget Control Act …

Air Force Confirms Intention to Ask Congress for BRAC Authorization

  • January 15, 2015
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Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James on Thursday acknowledged DOD would be asking Congress to hold another BRAC round as part of the fiscal 2016 budget request. James, who was delivering a “State of the Air Force” briefing at the Pentagon along with Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh, also told reporters that the new budget would ask to retire fleets of aging aircraft, including the A-10 Warthog, as it did last year. “We are going to be asking the Congress of course to eliminate sequestration, we will renew that call, as well as to allow us to get rid of excess base infrastructure. We’ll be renewing that as well. And we will once again ask for the authority to divest some of our older aircraft in order to free up money to plow back into people, readiness, and modernization …

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