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Posts Tagged ‘deficit reduction’

If Congress Opts for Spending Omnibus, Compromise over Individual Bills Attainable

  • October 19, 2014
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Lawmakers will only have a narrow window when they return to Capitol Hill next month to decide whether to aim for a massive year-end fiscal 2015 spending package or settle for a short- or long-term continuing resolution, but if they opt for the omnibus, overcoming differences between the two chamber’s individual spending bills should not be particularly arduous, according to an analysis by CQ. Differences between the House and Senate versions for many of the spending bills are no more than $1.5 billion or less. The House and Senate proposals for defense appropriations are only $1.3 billion apart, while competing versions of the military construction-veterans affairs measure are only $400 million apart …

White House to Exceed Budget Caps in FY 2016 Request

  • October 15, 2014
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The Obama administration’s fiscal 2016 budget request will exceed the Budget Control Act spending caps at least for non-defense appropriations, Shaun Donovan, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said Wednesday. In FY 2016 and beyond, Donovan said, “it’s absolutely critical on the non-defense side that we continue to make progress against sequestration, to relieve sequestration, to invest, whether it’s in infrastructure, in research and development, early childhood education, training …

Sequestration Jeopardizes Army’s Ability to Fulfill Its Role, Hagel Says

  • October 15, 2014
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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel praised the Army for its contributions since 9/11, before urging Congress to undo spending reductions called for under the Budget Control Act to avoid devastating cuts to the service’s force structure. “As the Army emerges from over 13 years of large-scale combat operations — the longest in its history — it faces new challenges,” Hagel said. “The world’s becoming more volatile, less predictable, and, in many ways, more threatening at the same time our defense budgets are declining …

Private Sector Carrying the Load for Army’s Energy Gains

  • October 14, 2014
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Improving the sustainability of Army installations has become increasingly critical as the long-term supply of fossil fuels and other resources becomes less certain, a trend projected to worsen as climate change accelerates. With DOD facing strict spending caps over the next seven years, though, the investments needed to bolster energy efficiency and energy security at the Army’s installations, conserve water and acquire power from renewable sources are coming via partnerships with the private sector, Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary for installations, energy and environment, said Tuesday. To date, energy savings performance contracts have proven to be one of the service’s most powerful tools for cutting its installation energy bill …

Army’s Top Leaders Chide Congress for Budget Uncertainty

  • October 14, 2014
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The next eight to 12 months will be critical for the future of the military as Congress makes funding decisions that dictate the size of the force and how it is equipped, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said Monday at the annual meeting of the Association of the U.S. Army. Unless Congress steps in, the spending cap for fiscal 2016 will force the Army to slash its end strength far below the level called for in the FY 2015 budget, 450,000 soldiers, Secretary John McHugh said earlier in the day. “If sequestration returns in fiscal ’16 … Another round of indiscriminate cuts will gut the force to the point that we will be unable to meet the president’s defense strategic guidance …

President, House Democrats Highlight Dangers of Sequestration

  • October 8, 2014
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During a rare visit to the Pentagon, President Obama on Wednesday warned about the deleterious impacts of the 2011 Budget Control Act spending caps on national defense, underscoring the need “to make sure that Congress is working with us to avoid, for example, some of the draconian cuts that are called for in sequestration.” Obama added that lawmakers need to ensure the military has “the equipment and the technology that’s necessary for them to be able to succeed at their mission,” reported the Hill. “We have done some enormous work, and I want to thank everybody sitting around this table to continue to make our forces leaner, meaner, more effective, more tailored to the particular challenges that we’re going to face in the 21st century …

Rock Island Arsenal Vulnerable to Sequestration, McHugh Says

  • October 7, 2014
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Army Secretary John McHugh on Tuesday said the Army appreciates efforts by area leaders and elected officials to support Rock Island Arsenal, Ill., but warned Quad City officials that defense spending caps slated to be imposed starting in fiscal 2016 could force cutbacks at the facility. If Congress fails to relax the caps, “we’re going to be enormously challenged to maintain the kinds of programs that you see here. Less money means even fewer items bought, fewer items manufactured,” McHugh said following a tour of Rock Island. “We need to get that fixed …

War Spending Account Solves DOD Budget Problems for Now

  • October 6, 2014
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The OCO account is exempt from the Budget Control Act caps on defense spending and with the estimated cost of operations in Iraq and Syria ranging from $2.4 billion to $18 billion annually, it’s the easiest solution to the Pentagon’s budget crunch, analysts say. “There is currently no limit on OCO, so there is as much room as they need,” Todd Harrison, a defense budget senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, told Stars and Stripes. Relying on the OCO has the obvious benefit of avoiding the need to shoehorn the cost of the war into the department’s base budget …

Pivot to Asia Continues despite Budget Pressure, Official Says

  • October 1, 2014
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DOD’s rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region remains on course despite the budget bind facing the department, Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work said Tuesday. “We might not be able to go as fast as we would want because of budgetary pressures. We might not be able to have as many forces as we would otherwise like because we wouldn’t be able to afford them,” Work told an audience at the Council on Foreign Relations. “But the Asia Pacific rebalance continues apace …

Work Upbraids Congress over Opposition to Cost-Saving Reforms

  • October 1, 2014
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The almost universal rejection by lawmakers of a series of belt-tightening reforms to military compensation and weapons systems retirements proposed by the Pentagon will create an estimated $70 billion hole in its five-year budget, Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work told the Council on Foreign Relations this week. The department’s fiscal 2015 budget called for slashing the subsidy for commissaries and slowing increases in the basic allowance for housing, along with retiring its fleet of A-10 close air support aircraft and other weapons. “These were what we considered to be pretty reasonable approaches, but Congress said ‘No …

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