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Posts Tagged ‘defense budget’

FY’15 Omnibus Talks Advance toward Funding Deadline

  • November 20, 2014
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Even as conservatives are uncertain how they will leverage must-pass spending legislation to block President Obama’s executive action on immigration, House and Senate appropriators continue to make progress hammering out a fiscal 2015 omnibus bill that would include funding for the entire federal government. Appropriators are planning on completing a year-end spending bill in time for the House and Senate to clear it before the current continuing resolution (CR) runs out on Dec. 11, reported CQ. Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, told the publication that a House-Senate meeting over the FY 2015 defense spending bill has reached agreement on a compromise measure, except for a handful of issues …

Emerging Threats Upend Assumptions behind Sequestration, Odierno Says

  • November 19, 2014
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Reductions in the size of the Army forced by the Budget Control Act spending caps need to be reconsidered given the emergence of multiple global threats over the past year, Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said Wednesday. Many of the assumptions made when officials decided to shrink the size of the active-duty Army — initially to 490,000 and now to about 440,000 — have not played out as planned. “We made assumptions that we wouldn’t be using Army forces in Europe the way we used to. We made assumptions that we wouldn’t go back into Iraq. We are back in Iraq. Here we are worried about Russia again …

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 …

Incoming Armed Services Chairs Decry Strict Spending Caps

  • November 19, 2014
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Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), who will lead the House Armed Services Committee starting in January, on Wednesday urged his fellow lawmakers to reverse the stringent spending caps imposed on the Pentagon by the Budget Control Act. “Obviously that’s a big issue. [The] Armed Services Committee cannot solve that problem, but it needs to be solved and so working with others, we’re going to do our best to try to solve it,” Thornberry told reporters, according to the Hill. After being selected by the House Republican Steering Committee for the chairmanship on Tuesday, the House Republican conference affirmed his selection on Wednesday …

House Republicans Consider Options that Sidestep Government Shutdown

  • November 18, 2014
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House Republicans focused on several maneuvers that would fund the government while disrupting an executive action by President Obama on immigration. One option discussed Tuesday calls for the House to pass a 12-bill omnibus for fiscal 2015, and then after the president issues an executive order, passing a bill rescinding funding for the federal programs involved in carrying it out, reported the Hill. Republicans would wait until January when they control both chambers to pass the rescission measure …

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 …

DOD May Ask for $60B over Spending Caps for FY’16, Report Says

  • November 17, 2014
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The Defense Department’s base budget request for fiscal 2016 may exceed the Budget Control Act spending cap for that year by up to $60 billion, Defense News reported Sunday. In recent months senior officials have been saying that the FY 2016 budget would exceed that year’s $535 billion cap on defense, but the exact magnitude of the disparity had not been clear. But despite the Republican Party controlling the House and Senate next year, the prospects for Congress to offer the Pentagon relief from the stringent spending caps remain low, according to analysts as well as current and former lawmakers …

Midterm Elections Sharpen House Republicans’ Approach to FY’15 Appropriations

  • November 16, 2014
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Since lawmakers returned to Washington last week from the campaign trail, the question facing House Republican leaders regarding fiscal 2015 appropriations has shifted from what funding mechanism they favor to keep the government running beyond Dec. 11 to whether they will embrace a conservative-led effort to confront President Obama over immigration and possibly trigger a shutdown. So far House leaders have encouraged Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) to produce an omnibus spending bill funding all federal agencies through next September that could be passed during the current lame duck session. Rogers and his Senate counterpart, Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), continue to negotiate a compromise spending package with a goal of finishing by the second week of December …

House Republicans Retain Earmark Ban

  • November 16, 2014
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House Republicans on Friday rejected a proposal to relax the conference’s earmark ban by allowing funds to be directed for specific projects to states, localities, public utilities and other public entities. The rules change, proposed by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), was rejected overwhelmingly, reported the Hill. “We had a very vigorous discussion. There’s no change in our policy; the ban stills exists,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) …

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