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Posts Tagged ‘debt ceiling agreement’

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 …

Budget Deal Will Be Difficult to Justify, Sessions Says

  • January 14, 2015
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Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services and Budget committees, says the bar will be relatively high for fiscal conservatives to sign off on an agreement to relax the Budget Control Act cap on defense spending. “I believe if people want to raise the defense cap, then they’re going to have to justify it,” Sessions told DefenseNews. “We’re going to have to talk about it, and we’re going to have to go to more than just general rhetoric but specific justifications because it doesn’t do any good to have … the Budget Control Act if we’re not going to adhere to it but [for] a year or two …

DOD FY’16 Budget Topline to Exceed Spending Cap

  • January 8, 2015
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The Pentagon is expected to request a topline spending level of $534 billion for fiscal 2016, which would exceed the Budget Control Act spending cap by almost $35 billion, according to defense officials and congressional aides. If Congress matches DOD’s request but fails to provide the department any relief from the spending cap, automatic cuts under sequestration would be imposed. Defense stakeholders are eagerly awaiting the Obama administration’s FY 2016 budget request — scheduled to be unveiled Feb. 2 — as it follows a two-year period in which lawmakers offered DOD $31.5 billion in extra spending by lifting the budget caps …

New Players Mean Budget Deal Remains a Long Shot

  • January 5, 2015
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With new lawmakers heading up the House and Senate Budget committees in the 114th Congress, the likelihood that Congress is able to duplicate the late-2013 agreement that lifted the fiscal 2014 and 2015 defense spending caps by a total of $31 billion appears remote. That deal was negotiated by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), but both are moving to new committee assignments this year. At this point, it’s not entirely clear how their replacements, Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), plan on addressing sequestration. If Congress does not revise the 2011 Budget Control Act, the topline for defense spending would rise only $1.7 billion to $523 billion in FY 2016 …

FY’16 Appropriations Expected to Follow More Torturous Path

  • December 16, 2014
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The fiscal 2015 omnibus spending package cleared by Congress this past week experienced its share of twists and turns as elements of both parties attempted to remove objectionable provisions, but on the whole its passage represented a mostly bipartisan process that likely won’t be duplicated in the 114th Congress. Negotiations over the “CRomnibus” did not focus on spending allocations because that issue already had been settled last year as part of the budget deal between Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) that relaxed the defense and non-defense spending caps for FY 2014 and 2015 …

BRAC Tops the Alternative, McHugh Says

  • December 10, 2014
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A new round of base closures would be the least painful way for the military to cope with the spending cuts forced by the 2011 Budget Control Act, Army Secretary John McHugh said during a ceremony this week at Fort Drum honoring the 10th Mountain Division. One alternative to BRAC that would generate savings for the Army would be to continue downsizing actions at installations across the country, as was the case earlier this year when the post experienced the loss of a brigade and about 1,500 soldiers …

Congressional Leaders Reach Deal on Compromise Spending Bill

  • December 9, 2014
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Congressional leaders Tuesday night unveiled a $1.1 trillion spending package that includes fiscal 2015 appropriations bills for all government agencies except for the Department of Homeland Security. The delayed release of the compromise legislation may force lawmakers to stay in Washington past Thursday, when the current continuing resolution (CR) expires, and require them to pass a CR for two or three days. The House is expected to take up the “CRomnibus” — a package of 11 individual spending bills and a CR lasting through Feb. 27 for Homeland Security — on Thursday, with the Senate most likely voting in the following days …

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