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Posts Tagged ‘deficit reduction’

Obama Defers Judgement on Key Military Compensation Reforms

  • April 30, 2015
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President Obama is withholding judgement on the most controversial recommendations of an independent panel to update military pay and benefits, he told Congress Thursday. One of the most significant reforms urged by the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission would transform the existing pension plan that only pays benefit to personnel serving at least 20 years to a hybrid system that would allow troops serving at least two years to invest in a 401(k)-type plan. Interestingly, the House Armed Services Committee early Thursday morning approved language adopting the commission’s recommendation as part of its fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill …

House Votes on Milcon Spending Bill Held up over Reliance on OCO Funds

  • April 29, 2015
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House Republicans postponed debate on the fiscal 2016 Military Construction-Veterans Affairs spending bill on Wednesday evening partially over fears that lawmakers would adopt amendments barring the use of funds from DOD’s overseas contingency operations (OCO) account to escape the statutory cap on defense spending. A series of amendments introduced by Reps. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) would have effectively eliminated $532 million in military construction funds allocated through the OCO, reported CQ Roll Call. Appropriators added the funds to the department’s war account, which isn’t subject to the Budget Control Act spending caps, as part of the GOP strategy to use the OCO as a relief valve for defense spending that doesn’t fit under the $523 billion cap on national security funds. But Van Hollen and Mulvaney called the shift of funds from DOD’s base budget to the OCO a “gimmick” to evade the caps …

Policy Bill Would Trim Headquarters Spending, Personnel

  • April 28, 2015
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The Defense Department would need to cut the budget and personnel at its headquarters by 20 percent and save $10 billion over five years, under the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill the House Armed Services Committee marks up today. The provision calls for the defense secretary to develop a plan for streamlining DOD management headquarters by requiring an accurate baseline accounting of headquarters budgets and personnel, and more specific information on actual and planned reductions in management headquarters. “The committee notes that the department has already claimed the savings associated with these reductions in the budget requests provided since the 20 percent goal was established in 2013,” according to a summary of the bill language …

House Armed Services to Shift Base Budget Needs to OCO Account

  • April 26, 2015
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The House version of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill will be aligned with that chamber’s budget resolution, allowing DOD to tap the tens of billions of dollars in extra funds stashed in its war account for requirements that ordinarily would be funded in the department’s base budget. “I’m not too wrapped up in the label on the account,” Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said last week before his panel’s subcommittees began marking up the annual policy bill …

Compromise Expected over Procedural Hurdle to Use of Extra Defense Funds

  • April 23, 2015
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House and Senate conferees appear to have reached a compromise over one of the primary sticking points to agreement on a fiscal 2016 budget resolution, a procedural hurdle that could block the Senate from allocating $38 billion in extra funding added to DOD’s overseas contingency operations account (OCO). The Senate’s budget blueprint includes a point of order on spending from the department’s war account that exceeds $58 billion, the original amount requested by the Obama administration. The point of order would allow Senate Democrats or fiscal conservatives to block appropriations from the OCO that exceed $58 billion unless defense hawks can produce 60 votes to override the objection …

N.C. Delegation Will Continue to Oppose Effort to Shutter Airlift Wing

  • April 19, 2015
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North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis said he would continue to fight the Air Force’s plan to deactivate Fort Bragg’s 440th Airlift Wing after officials last week released a long-waited reported justifying the move. The freshman senator said the plan to deactivate the 440th — an Air Force Reserve unit based at Fort Bragg’s Pope Field — would hinder the ability of airborne units at the post to quickly deploy to global hotspots. “Why on Earth would we jeopardize the training and readiness in that context — the only place on the planet where we do that? It just doesn’t make sense to me …

Subcommittee Chairman Appears to Favor Consolidation Plan for Exchanges, Commissaries

  • April 19, 2015
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After gaining support among top DOD leaders, a plan to consolidate the military’s commissary and exchange systems now may be favored by a key lawmaker responsible for personnel policy. Rep. Joe Heck, chairman of the House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee, has been reviewing the report of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission, which in January called for consolidating DOD’s three exchange services with the Defense Commissary Agency into a single Defense Resale Activity …

Arizona Lawmaker Fighting to Save the A-10

  • April 16, 2015
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Arizona Rep. Martha McSally is working with fellow lawmakers and Republican leaders to find $500 million to keep the Air Force’s fleet of A-10 attack jets in service. One year after Congress offered the A-10 a temporary reprieve from an Air Force plan to retire the fleet, the first-term lawmaker is crafting language for the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill to keep the Warthog flying. “I feel like I have made a very strong case and I believe that the leadership understands the importance of the A-10, so now we’re doing the sausage-making to make sure that happens …

House Panel Advances Milcon Spending Bill

  • April 15, 2015
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The House Military Construction-Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee on Wednesday approved a fiscal 2016 spending measure recommending a $900 million increase to $7.7 billion for military construction and family housing programs over the current year. The legislation passed despite criticism from Democrats that the measure is not fully funded, reported CQ Roll Call. The $76.6 billion spending bill, including the VA component, comes in $4.6 billion higher than the FY 2015 enacted level even though next year’s spending cap for all federal discretionary spending rises only $2 billion …

Compromise Budget Resolution Unlikely to Clarify Fate of Spending Caps

  • April 13, 2015
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An amendment to the Senate version of the fiscal 2016 budget resolution calling for relief from the statutory spending caps for defense and non-defense spending over the next two years is unlikely to be included in the compromise resolution the two chambers are expected to hash out over the coming weeks. The amendment, introduced by Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine (D) and passed with the support of four Republicans, called for replacing $148 billion in spending cuts in fiscal 2016 and 2017 with alternative offsets not yet specified over the 10-year budget window, reported CQ. As talks get under way over a compromise budget, conservative groups are pushing back against the provision because it would reverse the Budget Control Act spending caps …

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