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Posts Tagged ‘defense authorization bill’

McCain Pledges Speedy Conference Agreement on Policy Bill

  • June 19, 2015
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A House-Senate compromise on the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill could be wrapped up in a matter of weeks, Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) told reporters Thursday shortly after the Senate passed its version of the annual policy bill. “I am totally convinced we can get the bill back out of conference in July, and probably early July,” McCain said. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), chairman of House Armed Services, has made similar comments indicating a quick timeline to reconciling the two chamber’s versions is likely. “There are not significant differences,” McCain said, reported CQ. “Our reforms go quite a bit further than those in the House bill, but I have a very close working relationship with the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and I’m confident we can resolve those differences and resolve them quickly …

Senate Approves Authorization Bill Early

  • June 19, 2015
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The Senate on Thursday passed a defense authorization bill for the first time in three years, an achievement that should pave the way for Congress to reach agreement on a compromise measure well before the new fiscal year. The Senate’s failure to pass the annual policy bill in each of the two previous years prevented the House and Senate from convening a formal conference committee to hash out a final version of the legislation. Instead, the chairmen and ranking members of the two Armed Services panels held informal talks to reach a compromise. “This is how the Senate should operate — regular order, on time, giving our military the certainty they need to plan and execute their missions,” said Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain …

Senate Removes Commissary Privatization Program from Defense Bill

  • June 18, 2015
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The Senate on Wednesday stripped from the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill language directing the Defense Department to privatize up to five commissaries through a two-year pilot program. Lawmakers also passed a second procedural vote to end debate on the annual policy bill, setting up a final vote for passage which likely will take place Thursday. The 84-14 vote also signaled the Democrats’ decision not to filibuster the authorization bill over its reliance on DOD’s overseas contingency operations account to exceed the Budget Control Act spending caps. Instead, Senate Democrats will resume that fight over the defense spending bill. The party is expected to block a vote, which could come today, to debate the spending measure in the Senate …

Senate Could Finish Work This Week on Authorization Bill

  • June 17, 2015
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The Senate could move to a final vote on the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill before the end of the week, after the chamber on Tuesday voted to end debate on the measure. Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) told reporters, “I’m very, very guardedly optimistic that we’ll get it done by Thursday,” reported the Hill. The chamber’s debate over the annual policy bill, S. 1376, has been slowed by a dispute over amendments, but lawmakers took up three on Tuesday …

Senate Bill Would Allow Favorable Lease Terms to Local Schools

  • June 17, 2015
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Local school systems would be able to lease property at military installations for less than fair market value, under a provision in the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill now under debate in the Senate. The bill would amend 10 U.S.C. Section 2667 — the federal statute authorizing the enhanced use leasing program — to allow the military services to lease non-excess property for less than fair market value to a local education agency, or to an elementary or secondary school. The change is intended to help school systems that support military families, according to the committee report accompanying the legislation. The bill text, S. 1376, and committee report, S. Rpt. 114-49, are available on congress.gov.

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 …

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