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Posts Tagged ‘sequestration’

Air Force Introduces Programs to Increase End Strength

  • May 20, 2015
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The Air Force is reversing course and introducing several force management programs to increase its active-duty end strength following several years of personnel reductions. The course correction was prompted by a host of new missions, including the air campaign against the Islamic State and the effort to support NATO allies anxious over Russian aggression in Ukraine. The size of the Air Force began to shrink in fiscal 2014, when its end strength stood at 330,700 airmen. Now it has 312,980 service members, reported Air Force Times. The service’s FY 2016 budget calls for its end strength to rise 1.3 percent to 317,000 …

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 …

Senate Panel Fails to Resolve Questions over OCO End-Around

  • May 14, 2015
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The Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday approved its fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill, 22-4, after failing to assuage Democrats opposed to the measure’s reliance on DOD’s war funding account to evade the statutory spending caps. The committee’s draft legislation, like the version being debated this week on the House floor, authorizes DOD to spend $38 billion of funds added to its overseas contingency operations account for items traditionally funded in its base budget. Stashing the extra funds in the OCO account allows Congress and the Pentagon to sidestep the Budget Control Act caps …

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 …

OMB Calls for Agencies to Cut Budgets by 5 Percent in FY’17

  • May 6, 2015
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The Office of Management and Budget has told all federal agencies, including the Defense Department, that their upcoming budgets should reflect a 5 percent reduction below the funding level programmed for fiscal 2017 in the current budget request submitted to Congress last February. “[The guidance] asks agencies to show how they would cut 5 percent below the FY 2017 levels shown in the FY 2016 budget, as well as how they would prioritize funding add-backs to those levels,” an OMB spokeswoman told CQ Roll Call. “This guidance represents the starting point in the budget process …

Senators Decry Spending Caps before Passing Budget Resolution

  • May 5, 2015
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The Senate passed the fiscal 2016 conference budget resolution Tuesday, after lawmakers from both parties used the debate to press their colleagues to strike a deal to lift the Budget Control Act spending caps. The budget blueprint adheres to the statutory caps on defense and domestic spending, but to sidestep the limit on the Pentagon’s budget, it stashes $38 billion in extra funds in DOD’s war account, which is not subject to the caps. The House passed the compromise resolution last week. The move sets up a showdown over next year’s budget with President Obama, who has threatened to veto any spending bill that sticks to the statutory caps or provides budget relief to DOD while leaving domestic programs at the capped levels …

Resolution to Budget Dispute Not Coming Soon, Republicans Indicate

  • May 3, 2015
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In the face of calls from the White House for bipartisan talks to lift the statutory spending caps, senior Republicans say any negotiations will need to wait until the fiscal 2016 appropriations process plays itself out. After the White House issued veto threats on two appropriations bills considered by the House last week — including the military construction-veterans affairs spending measure — the Obama administration and congressional Republicans appear to be on a collision course. The statements from the Office of Management and Budget indicated that President Obama would not sign any spending bills that follow congressional Republicans’ plan to stick to the Budget Control Act levels while providing relief only to the Pentagon by stashing tens of billions of additional dollars in its war account …

Congress Close to Clearing FY’16 Budget Resolution

  • May 3, 2015
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The House adopted the fiscal 2016 conference budget resolution last Thursday, a compromise that strips out a procedural hurdle that could have blocked the Senate from allocating tens of billions of extra dollars included in DOD’s war account. To evade the $523 billion Budget Control Act cap on national security spending, the budget blueprints advanced in both the House and Senate allot $96 billion — including $58 billion requested by the Obama administration and $38 billion in extra funds — to the department’s overseas contingency operations account. That account is not subject to the budget caps …

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