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Posts Tagged ‘defense budget’

White House Reiterates Demand to Bust Spending Caps

  • September 9, 2015
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White House press secretary Josh Earnest on Tuesday reiterated President Obama’s pledge to veto any fiscal 2016 spending bill that merely sticks to the caps in the 2011 Budget Control Act. “He will not sign into law a budget bill that would lock in sequester levels of spending,” he said. With defense spending bills in both chambers already sidestepping the caps by stashing tens of billions of extra dollars in the Pentagon’s war account, the White House ultimatum essentially is warning Republicans that Obama won’t sign any spending bill unless it offers budget relief for non-defense agencies. Lawmakers need to strike a bipartisan deal, Earnest said, reported CQ. Earnest indicated, though, that the White House likely would agree to a continuing resolution that sticks to existing spending levels in order to avoid a government shutdown at the end of the month.

GOP Leaders Hope to Avoid Standoff over Funding

  • September 7, 2015
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With summer vacation over for Congress, one of the more urgent pieces of business for congressional leaders will be passing a continuing resolution (CR) by Sept. 30 to avoid a government shutdown, an effort likely to be complicated by the intersection of conservatives’ attempt to use the CR to defund Planned Parenthood and the Republican presidential primary. With three GOP presidential candidates — Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas), Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Rand Paul (Ky.) — seemingly eager for a showdown over the issue, “there’s real potential for fireworks in the Senate in September …

House Conservatives Still Aiming to Defund Planned Parenthood

  • September 3, 2015
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The August recess has not tempered calls by the conservative caucus of the House GOP to use the fiscal 2016 continuing resolution as a vehicle to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, a strategy which risks shutting down the federal government. At the minimum, the strident views of House conservatives likely will lead to a polarizing debate within the House Republican conference in the coming weeks as GOP leaders consider a stopgap spending measure to keep the government open after Sept. 30, reported CQ Roll Call. Conservative members insist that the Republican leadership’s plan to conduct multiple congressional investigations in response to a series of undercover videos of Planned Parenthood executives discussing the sale of fetal tissue will not be adequate. They also are viewing the issue as a referendum on Republican leadership …

Avoiding a Shutdown Will Be Highest Priority following Recess, McConnell Says

  • September 2, 2015
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Lawmakers’ primary challenge when they return to Capitol Hill next week will be clearing a measure to keep the federal government open when the new fiscal year starts Oct. 1, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told WYMT in Hazard, Ky., on Monday. McConnell blamed Senate Democrats for blocking action on fiscal 2016 spending bills because they offered budget relief to the Pentagon but not to domestic agencies, reported the Hill. “They prevented us from doing any of the bills that appropriate money for the government, thereby forcing a negotiation when we go back in after Labor Day, which I’ll be engaged in with the administration and others to try to sort out how much we’re going to spend and where we’re going to spend it,” McConnell told the television station …

GOP Source Outlines Possible Opening Offer in Budget Talks

  • September 1, 2015
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When Republican leaders decide to launch negotiations over the fiscal 2016 budget caps with the White House, their opening offer may be to lift the limits on defense spending by $38 billion, while raising the cap on domestic agencies by some lesser amount. Such a plan would offset the extra defense spending by extending the Budget Control Act caps for an additional two years in the 2020s, a source with ties to senior GOP lawmakers told CQ. Any extra domestic spending agreed to would be paid for by increasing the nation’s debt. Republicans would consider only a two-year deal to raise the statutory caps that would go through FY 2017, according to the source …

House Leaders Try to Steer Conservatives from Shutdown Path

  • August 28, 2015
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House Republicans continue to search for a strategy to placate conservative lawmakers intent on defunding Planned Parenthood without risking the second government shutdown in three years. GOP leaders’ preferred response to a series of undercover videos of Planned Parenthood executives discussing the sale of fetal tissue would be to build bipartisan opposition by conducting multiple congressional investigations, reports Politico. But a group of 18 House Republicans want to deny funding to the group during the fiscal 2016 appropriations process, a move that likely would not get past the Senate, let alone President Obama. The conservatives, led by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), say shutting down the government is not their intention, yet they are not afraid if that is the ultimate outcome …

DOD’s Fiscal Straits Unlikely to Improve, Washington Lawmakers Tell Forum

  • August 25, 2015
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Two Washington state lawmakers offered a downcast outlook for the defense budget and the prospects for Congress to alleviate the Pentagon’s fiscal challenges during last week’s Defense Community Regional Forum at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. Rep. Adam Smith (D), ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee, forecast shrinking budgets, a lack of flexibility from Congress on how DOD can respond to the cuts and a possible government shutdown. “It’s not just that the budget is being reduced, it’s that it’s being reduced in an incredibly unpredictable fashion,” Smith told the audience …

Senate Democrats Urge McConnell to Begin Budget Talks

  • August 21, 2015
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With only limited time available after lawmakers return to Washington next month, Senate Democrats this week urged Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to start negotiations over the fiscal 2016 spending caps immediately. “With the existence of a clear and urgent deadline for action, we believe it would be unwise to wait until after the Congress returns from the August state work period — just 23 days before the end of the federal fiscal year — to begin talks on a path forward,” all 46 members of the Democratic Conference, which includes two independents, wrote McConnell on Tuesday. “We cannot afford to wait, only to let delay and inaction bring us to the brink of another totally predictable and completely preventable crisis …

Odierno Remains Anxious over Army’s Declining End Strength

  • August 14, 2015
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Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno on Wednesday warned that the service risks sacrificing its long-term viability if stringent spending caps remain in place. “I believe this nation is at an important inflection point, specifically regarding national security,” Odierno said during his last Pentagon press briefing as he prepares to retire from the Army after almost 40 years of service. “Our security environment remains uncertain and dynamic,” he said, “with increasing requirements on our military while we continue to have decreasing resources in our military. This is of great concern to me …

Quick Agreement over CR Needed to Avoid Shutdown following Hectic September

  • August 11, 2015
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A busy September for Congress punctuated by debate over the Iran nuclear deal, high-priority highway and cybersecurity bills, and the pope’s visit likely will result in lawmakers getting only one shot at passing a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government open after Sept. 30. Because of the time Congress will be devoting to other priorities when it returns to Washington after Labor Day, neither the House nor the Senate will have the luxury of amending the CR they receive from the other chamber and sending it back for a second vote, reported CQ. “The highway bill, the cyber bill, the other things that need to get done, and the Iran resolution, and the highway bill are going to take a lot of time,” said Sen. Roy Blunt, vice chairman of the Republican conference …

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