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Posts Tagged ‘deficit reduction’

Senate Appropriators Reject DOD Plan to Trim Commissary Subsidy

  • June 12, 2015
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Senate appropriators on Thursday restored $322 million in funding for military grocery stores while marking up the fiscal 2016 defense spending bill, matching a similar move by their House counterparts. The Obama administration’s budget request recommended the cut — out of a total allocation of $1.4 billion for commissaries — which would have been accommodated by reducing days of operation and operating hours, laying off staff and closing some stores, reported Military Times. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (Md.), the committee’s top Democrat, criticized the proposal as a shortsighted idea from “Pentagon bean splicers” and said those savings should not come at the expense of military families …

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 …

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 …

Senate Passes Provision to Fortify Reserve Airlift Unit at Ft. Bragg

  • June 4, 2015
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Lawmakers debating the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill in the Senate Thursday passed an amendment that would not only stop the Air Force from carrying out its plan to deactivate Fort Bragg’s 440th Airlift Wing, but also replace its C-130 transport aircraft with upgraded models. The amendment, introduced by North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis (R) and co-sponsored by Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.), would relocate nine previously upgraded C-130H aircraft to Pope Field at Fort Bragg to directly support the daily training and contingency requirements of the XVIII Airborne Corps, 82nd Airborne Division and Army Special Operations Command. The nine aircraft would replace the six older C-130Hs now operated by the Air Force Reserve unit that are slated to be removed …

White House Objects to Language Mandating Personnel Cuts in Senate Bill

  • June 4, 2015
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The Obama administration said it opposes a section in the Senate’s fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill that would streamline the Defense Department in an attempt to eliminate unnecessary overhead because it would force the Pentagon to impose “deep, across-the-board cuts.” The Senate measure, S. 1376, calls for reducing funding for headquarters and administrative functions for military services, defense agencies, combatant commands, the office of the secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff by 7.5 percent for four years, totaling 30 percent by the fourth year. The cuts would yield $1.7 billion in savings in FY 2016 and recurring savings of $6.8 billion per year by the fourth year. The savings would be funneled to operations and readiness, according to the Senate Armed Services Committee …

Battle Lines Drawn over Commissary Funding

  • June 4, 2015
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The fiscal 2016 defense spending bill approved Tuesday by the House Appropriations Committee would restore $322 million DOD had proposed to cut from the Defense Commissary Agency’s budget as an initial step to scaling back the federal subsidy for military grocery stores. The cuts would force U.S. commissaries to be operated more like a business, forcing them to reduce customer discounts, as well as trim staff, store hours and the days stores are open. The Senate Armed Services Committee, however, adopted the department’s proposal to slash funding for commissaries in its draft FY 2016 defense authorization bill, raising the chances that the two chambers will need to find a compromise when they hash out next year’s defense budget …

OMB Chief Rips GOP’s Resort to ‘Budget Gimmicks’

  • June 2, 2015
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Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan on Monday reiterated the administration’s concerns about the Republicans’ strategy for bypassing the statutory spending caps by stashing extra funds in the Defense Department’s war account, in a letter to the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. The letter was timed to coincide with Tuesday’s markup of the committee’s fiscal 2016 defense spending bill. Donovan said the administration has “serious concerns about this legislation, which would underfund these important investments in the base budget and instead rely on budget gimmicks that have been criticized by members of both parties. The legislation also includes highly problematic riders and provisions that would preclude needed reforms …

Groups Pose Alternative Missions for Davis-Monthan AFB to Address A-10 Retirement

  • June 1, 2015
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While the A-10 jet appears to have dodged retirement once again, the Air Force’s plan to retire the fleet of ground-attack jets in favor of other aircraft that can fulfill its close air support mission and save $4 billion likely isn’t going away. The looming retirement of the A-10 poses an uncomfortable question for Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson as the aircraft represents the installation’s primary flying mission and the Air Force is looking to shed excess capacity. In the first of a multi-part series, the Arizona Daily Star considers five future missions for the installation suggested by the various entities advocating for the installation, including the DM50, the Southern Arizona Defense Alliance, Pima County and the city of Tucson …

Wisconsin Leaders Underscore Need to Diversify State’s Economy

  • June 1, 2015
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To cope with the uncertain trajectory of defense spending, the state of Wisconsin needs to consider ways to diversify its economy, according to a commentary in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The city of Oshkosh already is attempting to reduce its reliance on defense contracts following the loss of thousands of jobs at Oshkosh Defense as DOD has slashed its procurement of tactical military vehicles. One avenue local planners are pursuing with the support of $1.8 million in grants from DOD’s Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) is helping the suppliers of Oshkosh Defense enter other industries. The city of Marinette similarly should prepare for the possibility that work building the Navy’s littoral combat ship at Marinette Marine Corp. declines …

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 …

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