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Posts Tagged ‘defense budget’

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 …

Veto Threat is Real, White House Press Secretary Says

  • June 18, 2015
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President Obama will veto the fiscal 2016 defense spending bill absent a deal that provides budget relief to domestic agencies, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Wednesday. Earnest’s response to a reporter’s question represents a somewhat stiffer threat than the typical language the Office of Management and Budget uses in objecting to legislation, namely that the president’s “senior advisers would recommend” a veto, reported CQ. Earnest described several reasons why Obama would veto the defense spending bill unless the budget caps were lifted for non-defense agencies. “One is that the funding mechanism that Republicans have floated is one that many leading Republicans have previously described as nothing more than a gimmick …

Amendment Would Require OEA Report on Support for Army Communities

  • June 16, 2015
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The Office of Economic Adjustment would be required to submit a report to Congress on funding that could be made available to communities affected by the Army’s latest restructuring, under an amendment added to the fiscal 2016 defense spending bill last week by the Senate Appropriations Committee. The Army shortly is expected to announce how it will realign its forces to shrink its end strength by up to 70,000 soldiers by fiscal 2020. Officials announced a similar restructuring in June 2013. At the time, the Army said it would deactivate 10 brigade combat teams to eliminate 80,000 personnel and cut its end strength to 490,000. This latest reduction could trim active-duty forces to 420,000 …

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.

Budget Impasse Fast Approaching in Senate

  • June 14, 2015
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Progress on fiscal 2016 appropriations bills could come to a screeching halt in the Senate this week, with Democrats vowing to block the chamber from beginning debate on all 12 spending bills, including the defense measure which the Senate is expected to turn to shortly. A deadlock in the Senate could slow work on appropriations on the other side of the Capitol as well, reported CQ. Democrats and the White House oppose GOP’s budget framework, which sticks to the stringent budget cap for non-defense spending but offers relief to the Pentagon by stashing $38 billion in extra funding in DOD’s overseas contingency operations account …

House Adopts Language Barring BRAC

  • June 12, 2015
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House lawmakers approved an amendment prohibiting the Defense Department from spending funds to propose, plan for or carry out a new round of base closures in fiscal 2016, before passing on Thursday the underlying defense appropriations bill for next year. The move probably won’t have any practical effect as this year’s defense authorization bill likely will reject the Obama administration’s request to hold a round in 2017, but it does underscore lawmakers’ opposition to BRAC. The chamber previously adopted similar language when it took up the FY 2016 military construction-veterans affairs spending measure in April. Much of the debate over the legislation focused on its use of DOD’s war account to sidestep the statutory spending caps in order to meet the Pentagon’s budget request …

BRAC Featured Prominently in Latest White House Veto Threat

  • June 11, 2015
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The House’s fiscal 2016 defense spending bill would undermine a new round of base closures and prevent DOD from aligning its infrastructure with the needs of its evolving force, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) said this week in explaining the White House’s threat to veto the legislation. The appropriations bill, which the House began debating Wednesday, does not includes $10.5 million that President Obama requested for planning and analyses to support a BRAC round in 2017, according to OMB’s response to the measure, H.R. 2685. “This impairs the ability of the executive branch to plan for contingencies or make other needed adjustments that would improve military effectiveness and efficiency …

First Test of Democrats’ Pledge to Block Spending Bills in Senate Coming Soon

  • June 10, 2015
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If you were looking for signs that Democrats and Republicans would work together to pass spending bills for next year, Tuesday wasn’t the day to be on Capitol Hill. After losing a vote over an amendment to block the GOP’s gambit for evading the statutory spending caps to bolster the Pentagon’s budget, Senate Democrats reiterated their pledge to block all spending bills from moving to the floor. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), the No. 3 Democrat in the Senate, and Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), ranking member on the Appropriations Committee, insisted Democrats would stick together to block motions to proceed to fiscal 2016 appropriations bills. “Our big fight is going to be on the appropriations bills …

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 …

Democrats’ Shutdown Talk Intended to Force GOP’s Hand

  • June 9, 2015
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An increasing number of senior Democratic lawmakers have been warning that the federal government is headed toward another shutdown when the new fiscal year begins as a result of the brewing dispute over fiscal 2016 spending. “We’re now kind of paddling down this river serenely when we all know there is this huge waterfall ahead. And if our Republican colleagues want to keep quietly paddling toward a government shutdown, that’s their choice,” Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), ranking member on the House Budget Committee, said last week. Pete Visclosky (D-Ind.), ranking member on the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, noted the similarities with the issues surrounding appropriations in FY 2014 when a partisan dispute resulted in a 16-day shutdown. “While not a mirror image of two years ago, the FY 2016 process is careening towards a similar fate …

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