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Posts Tagged ‘defense budget’

Size of Army to Remain Unsettled for Several Years, Odierno Says

  • May 31, 2015
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Gen. Ray Odierno had hoped the Obama administration and Congress could have settled on a final end strength for the Army by the time he steps down as the Army’s chief of staff this fall, but the issue likely will remain undecided for several more years, he told reporters last week. “I thought by now we would have had that resolved,” said Odierno. “That was a major thing I wish I could’ve had done so the new chief could focus on continuing to move the Army forward, but he’s still going to have to deal with this issue for at least two or three more years,” he said, reported Army Times. The Army already is slated to shrink its active-duty end strength to 490,000 soldiers by Sept. 30, with further reductions cutting the force to 450,000 over the next few years …

Neither Side Prepared to Make First Move on Spending Cap Deal

  • May 27, 2015
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It’s looking more and more that any negotiations between GOP congressional leaders and the White House over lifting the Budget Control Act spending caps will not start until the new fiscal year approaches. On Wednesday, Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan said the White House has no plans to reach out to Republican leaders as its opening offer was its fiscal 2016 budget request delivered in February. “We’ve actually put our cards on the table, if you will, to say ‘Here’s what we want. Here’s how we would pay for it,’ and the next step really needs to be Republicans coming to the table to say, ‘Here’s our proposal on that …

Senate Bill Embraces DOD’s Commissary Reforms

  • May 25, 2015
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The Senate Armed Services Committee adopted the Defense Department’s proposal to slash funding for commissaries by $322 million as an initial step to scaling back the federal subsidy for military grocery stores, under the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill the panel approved May 14. DOD’s cost-cutting plan would trim the overall savings for military families and veterans from an average of 30 percent to 28 percent, reported Stars and Stripes. More than half of the savings — representing a 23 percent funding cut for the Defense Commissary Agency — would come from operating efficiencies, including reducing staff, store hours and the days stores are open …

Senate Democrats Promise Rough Going on Appropriations

  • May 25, 2015
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Senate Democrats will participate in committee work on fiscal 2016 spending legislation but once the bills move to the floor, the party will block them from advancing, Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, vowed last week. “Unless there is a new [spending] agreement before these bills come to the floor, we will vote against the motion to proceed,” Mikulski said Thursday after the panel approved its first spending bill of the year. The gambit is designed to pressure Republicans to negotiate on a new budget deal to raise the statutory spending caps …

Senate Committee Advances Milcon Funding Bill

  • May 21, 2015
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The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved a fiscal 2016 spending bill that would provide $8.1 billion for military construction and family housing programs, representing a $1.3 billion boost over current year funding and a significant step toward restoring milcon funding to levels allocated as recently as FY 2014. Spending on military construction programs dropped about one-third in the current year as DOD opted to defer a portion of its construction program to fund higher priorities such as operations and readiness. The House also voted to increase milcon spending, but only to $7.7 billion. Both chambers’ spending bills fall short of the president’s request for $8.4 billion in FY 2016 …

Senate Milcon Bill Surpasses House Panel’s Spending Recommendation

  • May 20, 2015
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Spending on military construction and family housing programs in fiscal 2016 would rise $1.3 billion over current year funding to $8.1 billion, under the spending bill marked up Tuesday by a Senate Appropriations subcommittee. The milcon spending level recommended by the Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee would be $400 million higher than the amount included in the appropriations bill passed by the House on April 30. Both versions, though, take a significant step toward restoring milcon funding to levels allocated as recently as FY 2014. Spending on military construction programs dropped about one-third in the current year as the department opted to defer a portion of its construction program to fund higher priorities such as operations and readiness …

House Defense Spending Bill Employs Extra Funds

  • May 19, 2015
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DOD would receive $579 billion in discretionary spending in fiscal 2016, an increase of $24.4 billion above the current level and $800 million above the president’s request, under the draft defense spending bill unveiled Tuesday by the House Appropriations Committee. The spending bill takes advantage of $88 billion included in DOD’s overseas contingency operations account under the budget resolution adopted by the House and Senate. That represents the department’s share of the $96 billion in funds allocated to the OCO account to elude the Budget Control Act cap on defense spending. The administration had requested only $58 billion for the war account …

Authorization Bill Passes in House despite Democratic Opposition

  • May 17, 2015
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House Republicans overcame an uncharacteristic lack of Democratic support on Friday to pass the chamber’s fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill, 269-151. The opposition from Democrats did not stem from significant differences over defense programs but, rather, from the effort by the party, along with President Obama, to fight the legislation’s reliance on DOD’s overseas contingency operations account to evade the statutory spending caps. The legislation, H.R. 1735, would authorize DOD to spend $38 billion on operations and maintenance needs that ordinarily would be funded in the department’s base budget …

Democrats to Oppose House Authorization Bill over Reliance on OCO Funds

  • May 13, 2015
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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will whip Democrats against the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill over opposition to the measure’s reliance on DOD’s overseas contingency operations (OCO) account to get around the Budget Control Act spending caps. The unprecedented move follows a DOD briefing Wednesday for House Democrats that concluded, “this bill is the wrong bill,” according to House Democratic Caucus Chair Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.). The annual policy legislation typically passes with bipartisan support. Equally surprising was the announcement by Adam Smith (D-Wash.), ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, that he also would vote against the measure …

Budget Differences Put Military at Risk, Top Pentagon Officials Testify

  • May 6, 2015
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Defense Secretary Ash Carter reiterated the administration’s threat to veto legislation that adds $38 billion to DOD’s war account to get around the Budget Control Act spending caps, during a hearing Wednesday of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. “While this approach clearly recognizes that the budget total we’ve requested is needed, the avenue it takes is just as clearly a road to nowhere,” Carter told the panel. If lawmakers stick to the path outlined in the compromise budget resolution adopted by both chambers over the past week, he said, the department again will need to make hasty and drastic decisions by Oct. 1 …

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