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Posts Tagged ‘military construction’

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 …

Earmark Ban Fails to Slow Lobbying on Appropriations Issues

  • May 11, 2015
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The congressional ban on earmarks has not stopped Washington lobbyists from continuing to work on appropriations bills but it has changed their focus. Now lobbyists are pressing the Appropriations panels to include policy language or establish funding targets, rather than earmarks for specific projects. Clients, for example, may want to make sure certain agency programs are adequately funded so there would be money available for a competitive grant program, Jim Dyer, a lobbyist at the Podesta Group and former staff director on House Appropriations, told CQ Roll Call. In that case, Dyer would ask a committee to set guidelines for the program that are aligned with his clients’ capabilities. “Obviously, it’s a different world than it was 10 years ago …

Panel Directs GAO to Study Impact of Deferred Maintenance on Readiness

  • May 4, 2015
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In response to concerns over DOD’s policy to stop fully funding facilities sustainment, the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee directs the Government Accountability Office to review the state of the department’s facility sustainment and recapitalization program, according to report language attached to the panel’s portion of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill. The congressional watchdog agency should address: to what extent has DOD met its goals for sustainment and recapitalization of its facilities? what is known about the condition of facilities and the trend in conditions since fiscal 2011 …

GOP Plan to Rely on OCO Funds to Boost Defense Spending Survives House Vote

  • April 30, 2015
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The House on Thursday passed the fiscal 2016 military construction-veterans affairs spending bill, after a bipartisan effort to bar the use of funds from DOD’s overseas contingency operations account for non-war spending nearly upset Republicans’ plans to rely on the department’s war account to sidestep the statutory caps on the defense budget. Instead, Republican leaders were able to overcome support for three amendments introduced by Reps. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) that would have collectively eliminated $532 million in military construction funding allocated through the OCO. 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 …

Milcon Spending Bill includes Missile Site, BRAC Amendments

  • April 30, 2015
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House lawmakers approved two amendments of interest to defense communities — one that would provide funding for an East Coast missile defense site and one that would prohibit a new BRAC round — as part of the fiscal 2016 Military Construction-Veterans Affairs spending bill the chamber approved Thursday. Language allocating $30 million for the planning, design and construction of an East Coast missile defense site was offered by freshman Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y), whose district includes Fort Drum. Last year, the Defense Department said it would prepare environmental impact statements at four locations, including Fort Drum, N.Y., to determine a potential site to host ground-based interceptors to protect the East Coast …

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 …

White House Veto Threats Signal Budget Showdown

  • April 28, 2015
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Veto threats issued Tuesday by the White House on two appropriations bills scheduled to go to the House floor this week, including the military construction–veterans affairs measure, leave uncertain how fiscal 2016 spending measures will go forward this year. The two statements from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) indicate President Obama would not sign any spending bills that follow congressional Republicans’ plan to stick to the statutory spending caps while providing relief only to the Pentagon by stashing tens of billions of additional dollars in its war account. “The president’s senior advisers would recommend that he veto H.R. 2029 and any other legislation that implements the current Republican budget framework, which blocks the investments we need for our economy to compete in the future,” according to the statement of administration policy on the milcon spending bill. OMB issued the same veto threat for the energy-water measure …

White House Missives Reinforce Split with Congress over FY’16 Spending

  • April 22, 2015
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Office of Management and Budget Chief Shaun Donovan on Tuesday criticized the first two fiscal 2016 spending bills moving through the House for adhering to the Budget Control Act spending limits, underscoring the potential for a divisive battle over spending this year, but also setting the path for a possible budget deal to relax the stringent caps. Donovan criticized the military construction-VA spending bill for shortchanging spending to upgrade military bases and veterans’ health care, reported CQ Roll Call. The milcon bill, along with the energy-water measure, is set to go to the House floor next week after gaining approval of the House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday. “The president has been clear that he is not willing to lock in sequestration going forward, nor will he accept fixes to defense without also fixing non-defense …

Milcon Spending Bill Advances in House

  • April 22, 2015
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The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday approved a $76.6 billion fiscal 2016 spending bill for military construction and veterans affairs that provides a significant boost for military construction and family housing after spending on those programs dropped about one-third in the current year. Under the bill, military construction and family housing spending would rise $900 million over FY 2015 levels to $7.7 billion. The House’s proposal, however, still falls short of the Obama administration’s request for $8.4 billion in FY 2016. Milcon funding dropped in the current year as DOD opted to defer a portion of its construction program to fund higher priorities such as operations and readiness …

Appropriations Committee Asks for Detailed Analysis of Infrastructure Needs in BRAC Study

  • April 22, 2015
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Citing its concern about the Pentagon’s repeated calls for a new BRAC round, the House Appropriations Committee directs DOD to provide a comprehensive assessment of its infrastructure needs. “Though the committee is not endorsing or precluding another BRAC round, it is interested in more detailed information that would help lead Congress to make an informed decision on that question,” states the committee report accompanying the fiscal 2016 military construction-veterans affairs spending measure that was released Tuesday …

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