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Posts Tagged ‘defense authorization bill’

Pilot to Privatize Commissaries Should Be Postponed, Inhofe Says

  • June 16, 2015
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A proposal to privatize five commissaries under a two-year pilot program should be stripped from the Senate version of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill, according to a commentary by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) published in Military Times. Congress should complete an evaluation of the feasibility of privatizing military grocery stores before launching a pilot program, writes Inhofe, a senior member of the Armed Services Committee. “Privatizing military commissaries before conducting an assessment of the costs and benefits of such significant reform is irresponsible,” he states. “I want to know the cost and savings as well as the risks and benefits associated with privatization before any action is taken,” Inhofe says …

Limited Debate to Resume in Senate on Authorization Bill

  • June 14, 2015
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Senate debate on the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill is expected to continue Tuesday after little movement last week and votes on only a handful of amendments. On Thursday, Armed Services Chair John McCain (R-Ariz.) told reporters the bill was now “unstuck” and he hoped the Senate would debate a number of amendments before moving to final passage. Lawmakers eventually agreed to hold votes on two amendments tomorrow. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) filed a procedural motion Thursday to allow him to cut off debate on the annual defense policy measure, S. 1376; that vote is expected Tuesday, reported the Hill. Democrats earlier blocked a move by McConnell to attach a cybersecurity bill to the underlying measure.

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 …

‘We’ll Get There,’ Carter Says about a New BRAC Round

  • June 8, 2015
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Defense Secretary Ashton Carter vowed to continue pursuing another BRAC round until Congress relents, during remarks Thursday at a town hall event in Stuttgart, Germany. “It must be done,” Carter told troops from Africa Command, reported Military.com. “We can’t let tail and not tooth eat our budget. And so where we have unneeded infrastructure, and BRAC obviously pertains to unneeded infrastructure in the United States, we’ve got to get after that,” he said. “I am in an ongoing argument essentially with the Congress over this necessity,” Carter explained. This year’s request by President Obama to hold a BRAC round in 2017 represents the fourth consecutive year the administration has asked Congress to approve one or more base closure rounds. “But we’re going to keep trying. And I think at some point we’ll get there,” Carter said.

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 …

Administration Criticizes Senate Bill for Pursuing Privatization of Commissaries

  • June 4, 2015
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The White House this week said it opposes provisions in the Senate’s draft of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill that would test the feasibility of privatizing military grocery stores. The bill, S. 1376, calls for the Defense Department to develop a plan to privatize the Defense Commissary Agency, wholly or in part. It also directs the Governmental Accountability Office to assess the potential costs and benefits of privatizing the entire network of commissaries and determining whether any barriers exist to privatizing the commissary system. Following the GAO study, DOD would be required to privatize at least five commissaries under a two-year pilot program to evaluate the feasibility of its privatization plan. The White House, though, is critical of the Senate proposal …

Senate Passes Provision to Fortify Reserve Airlift Unit at Ft. Bragg

  • June 4, 2015
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Lawmakers debating the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill in the Senate Thursday passed an amendment that would not only stop the Air Force from carrying out its plan to deactivate Fort Bragg’s 440th Airlift Wing, but also replace its C-130 transport aircraft with upgraded models. The amendment, introduced by North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis (R) and co-sponsored by Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.), would relocate nine previously upgraded C-130H aircraft to Pope Field at Fort Bragg to directly support the daily training and contingency requirements of the XVIII Airborne Corps, 82nd Airborne Division and Army Special Operations Command. The nine aircraft would replace the six older C-130Hs now operated by the Air Force Reserve unit that are slated to be removed …

White House Objects to Language Mandating Personnel Cuts in Senate Bill

  • June 4, 2015
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The Obama administration said it opposes a section in the Senate’s fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill that would streamline the Defense Department in an attempt to eliminate unnecessary overhead because it would force the Pentagon to impose “deep, across-the-board cuts.” The Senate measure, S. 1376, calls for reducing funding for headquarters and administrative functions for military services, defense agencies, combatant commands, the office of the secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff by 7.5 percent for four years, totaling 30 percent by the fourth year. The cuts would yield $1.7 billion in savings in FY 2016 and recurring savings of $6.8 billion per year by the fourth year. The savings would be funneled to operations and readiness, according to the Senate Armed Services Committee …

Battle Lines Drawn over Commissary Funding

  • June 4, 2015
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The fiscal 2016 defense spending bill approved Tuesday by the House Appropriations Committee would restore $322 million DOD had proposed to cut from the Defense Commissary Agency’s budget as an initial step to scaling back the federal subsidy for military grocery stores. The cuts would force U.S. commissaries to be operated more like a business, forcing them to reduce customer discounts, as well as trim staff, store hours and the days stores are open. The Senate Armed Services Committee, however, adopted the department’s proposal to slash funding for commissaries in its draft FY 2016 defense authorization bill, raising the chances that the two chambers will need to find a compromise when they hash out next year’s defense budget …

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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