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Posts Tagged ‘defense authorization bill’

Lawmakers Forego Changes to HUBZone Program Benefitting BRAC Sites

  • December 4, 2014
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The final version of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill does not include a provision intended to make it easier for tenants located at closed installations to qualify for the HUBZone program, a Small Business Administration initiative offering preferential access to federal procurements to businesses in distressed areas. Language in the version passed by the Senate Armed Services Committee in May, added by Maine Sen. Angus King (I), would have expanded the geographic boundaries of HUBZones at BRAC sites to include the town or county where the installation is located, or census tracts contiguous to the installation …

Justification Study for New BRAC Stripped out of Compromise Measure

  • December 3, 2014
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Leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services committees struck language calling for DOD to prepare a comprehensive assessment of the need for additional base closures from the compromise versions of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill unveiled this week. The provision, part of the House version of the annual policy bill, was viewed by analysts as the first step toward future congressional approval for a new BRAC round. At the same time, though, the two committees acknowledged the need for the Pentagon to update the analysis of excess capacity it performed prior to the 2005 round and stated that DOD already has the authority to prepare such a study …

Defense Bill Not Guaranteed Smooth Path to Passage

  • December 3, 2014
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The House is scheduled to take up the final version of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill today, after the House Rules Committee on Wednesday passed a rule to expedite its passage. While the House is expected to approve the compromise legislation unveiled earlier this week, its path in the Senate has been complicated by a decision by congressional leaders to append a package of almost 100 public lands provisions to the defense bill. Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn (R) has vowed to block the Senate’s attempt to pass the legislation next week over the land swaps …

House, Senate Give up Ground Reluctantly on DOD Reforms

  • December 2, 2014
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House and Senate Armed Services Committee leaders reached agreement on a compromise version of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill that offers the Pentagon only moderate concessions on many of its cost-saving reforms affecting military compensation and force structure. On one of the issues that held up a deal until Monday, committee leaders agreed to slow the growth in the basic allowance for housing (BAH) so it covers only 99 percent of costs, reported Stars and Stripes. DOD had proposed slowing increases in the BAH until it covered only 95 percent of costs …

House, Senate Resolve Impasse over Authorization Bill

  • December 1, 2014
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Leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services committees reached agreement on a compromise fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill, after breaking an impasse over two Pentagon proposals intended to trim the cost of military compensation. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, announced the breakthrough on Monday, but did not say how the issues had been resolved. “We compromised,” Levin told reporters Monday evening. “It takes two, not just to tango, but to compromise.” He indicated details would be released on Tuesday …

Compensation Panel Not Aiming to Solve Pentagon Budget Challenges, Commissioner Says

  • December 1, 2014
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The Defense Department should not pin its hopes on finding major budget savings in the final report of a nine-member commission established by Congress to review military compensation, according to one member of the commission. “We’re going to work on what’s important to properly recruit and retain and resource the force necessary for the war after next,” former Congressman Stephen Buyer (R), who represented Indiana for nine terms, told Stars and Stripes. “I have told leadership at the Pentagon that their present budget issue is not my problem. Don’t look to me to solve your present budget problem. If you’ve got issues with sequester, then you deal with that with the Congress. That’s not my job …

McCain May End Closed Markups for Authorization Bill

  • November 24, 2014
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The Senate Armed Services Committee’s markup of the defense authorization bill may be open to the public next year, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who is expected to take the gavel for the panel in the 114th Congress, said last week. “I lean towards it, but I want to get the sense of all the members of the committee,” said McCain. McCain has previously stated there is no reason to hold the markup in a closed session. Before going ahead, though, he said he wants to make sure a majority of the committee supports the move, reported CQ Roll Call …

Armed Services Leaders Split over Military Compensation Reforms

  • November 19, 2014
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Leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services committees negotiating a compromise fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill remain at an impasse over two DOD proposals intended to save billions of dollars in military benefit costs through FY 2019. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the outgoing chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Wednesday it’s worth “fighting for” the reforms advocated by Pentagon leaders. One would slow the growth in the basic allowance for housing below the rate of inflation over the next three years so that the benefit only covers 95 percent of average rental costs. The other would increase pharmacy co-pays for prescriptions filled outside of military treatment facilities …

Authorization Bill Talks Hung up over Military Benefits

  • November 18, 2014
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A dispute over DOD cost-saving reforms affecting the basic allowance for housing and co-pays for prescription drugs are holding up negotiations between the leadership of the House and Senate Armed Services committees over a compromise fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill. Committee leaders were aiming to wrap up negotiations by the end of the week, and clearing the final version of the bill through the House and Senate during the lame duck session. The Pentagon had proposed slowing growth in the basic allowance for housing below the rate of inflation over the next three years so that the benefit only covers 95 percent of average rental costs …

Pentagon Will Request a New BRAC Round in FY’16 Budget, Hagel Indicates

  • November 17, 2014
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During multiple stops this weekend, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel underscored the need for a new BRAC round as one way for the Defense Department to mitigate the fiscal constraints imposed by the Budget Control Act spending caps. “Despite numerous efforts and almost 10 years since the last round, DOD has been unable to secure another round of base realignment and closure. Today, DOD has 24 percent excess capacity in our basing and facilities — excess capacity that is costing us billions of dollars every year, money that could otherwise be invested in maintaining our military’s edge. We need Congress to help end this excess spending …

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