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Posts Tagged ‘sequestration’

Prospect of Federal Shutdown Reaches 40 Percent, Expert Says

  • July 29, 2015
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With Republicans leaders resisting President Obama’s latest call for budget talks to resolve the impasse over fiscal 2016 spending, federal budget expert Stan Collender says the chances of a government shutdown have now risen to 40 percent. Of course, the most likely outcome still is a continuing resolution that remains in force until a budget deal can be reached, Collender, an executive vice president at Qorvis/MSLGROUP and a former staffer on the House and Senate Budget committees, said in a blog post. Last month, House Speaker John Boehner had said he was willing to sit down with the White House to negotiate a budget deal, but so far the president had never asked him do so. But after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy last week said he didn’t see “a place currently where they c(ould) come to a conclusion …

Force Reductions to Leave Army at ‘Razor’s Edge,’ Odierno Says

  • July 26, 2015
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The Army’s plan to shrink its active-duty end strength to 450,000 soldiers over the next three years will force the nation to assume a greater level of risk as the number of hotspots across the globe rises, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said Thursday. “With the increased instability around the world, 490,000 is the right number, but we can’t do it,” Odierno said during a visit to Fort Carson. “We don’t have the budget to do it.” The decision to eliminate 40,000 troops was prompted by the discretionary spending caps imposed under the 2011 Budget Control Act. Odierno, who is retiring in August, is hoping lawmakers strike a multi-year deal to raise the spending caps …

Congress to Take up CR in September, Boehner Says

  • July 24, 2015
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Lawmakers most likely will rely on a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government open when the new fiscal year starts Oct. 1, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Thursday. “It’s pretty clear, given the number of days we’re going to be here in September, that we’re going to need a CR of some kind,” Boehner said. The speaker did not address how long he envisioned a stopgap measure lasting, reported CQ Roll Call. “No decisions have been made about that,” he said. “We’ll deal with it when we get back in September …

Army Nominee Defends Restructuring Plan

  • July 23, 2015
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The restructuring the Army announced earlier this month will leave a force that is still large enough to meet its current missions, but at a “high level” of risk, Gen. Mark Milley told the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday at a hearing on his nomination to be the next Army chief of staff. “I think from a total Army perspective, we have adequate size, but that is with significant risk,” Milley said. “That risk is incurred in terms of time to get to the fight, the time to mobilize [National Guard] units, time to get them trained and certified, and then it’s also significant risk in potential casualties,” he told the panel. Milley, currently the commander of Army Forces Command, also responded to lawmakers from states slated to absorb a portion of the 40,000-soldier reduction that will be carried out by the end of fiscal 2018 …

Anchorage’s Civilian Economy Could Use Several Thousand Veterans

  • July 23, 2015
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While the Army’s plan to cut 2,600 soldiers from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson will have some negative effects on Anchorage’s economy, transitioning personnel who elect to stay in the area will boost the local labor pool and have an opportunity to significantly benefit the region, according to a commentary published in the Alaska Dispatch News. Anchorage employers from a range of sectors have said they have job openings that are difficult to fill because of a lack of qualified candidates, write Bill Popp, president and CEO of the Anchorage Economic Development Corp., and Julie Saupe, president and CEO of Visit Anchorage. The city has only 8,500 unemployed workers. “The troops and their families who are facing the upcoming military drawdown are professional, skilled workers, and we have the jobs for them right here in Anchorage and Alaska. The Army’s loss is Alaska’s gain …

Democrats Step up Pressure to Negotiate Higher Spending Caps

  • July 22, 2015
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President Obama on Tuesday reiterated his call for Republicans to negotiate higher spending levels for domestic agencies as well as the Pentagon if he is to sign any fiscal 2016 appropriations bills. “I’m calling on Republican leaders in Congress to come to the table with Democrats, sit down, negotiate a budget that protects our national security and our economic security,” Obama said at a VFW convention in Pittsburgh. “I’ve said I will veto any budget that locks in the sequester. It is not good for our country,” he said …

Member-Led Efforts to Solve Sequestration Yield Little in Results

  • July 21, 2015
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Lawmakers regularly tout their participation in behind-the-scenes talks to produce a bipartisan plan to lift the statutory spending caps on defense and domestic spending, but the reality is very little progress has been made, reports CQ. A group led by Senate Armed Services Chair John McCain (R-Ariz.), for example, has been meeting since earlier this year to resolve what McCain said was his number one priority when he took the panel’s gavel in January. Beyond talking, it’s not clear if the group has made any headway. “It would be a good idea,” McCain said of completing a plan. “But first you’ve got to agree on what to put out there. That’s why these endless discussions go on …

Defense Bill Talks Slowed over Military Compensation Issues

  • July 19, 2015
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Progress by House and Senate conferees negotiating a compromise version of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill slowed last week due to disagreements over service members’ benefits and other key issues. As a result, the target date for the House to vote on a conference report has slipped to the week of July 27, reported CQ Roll Call. If the conferees finish work on a final version of the defense policy bill in time for the House to take it up next week, the Senate still would have time to clear a conference report the following week before starting its August recess …

Army Cuts Could Place Housing Bonds at Risk, Ratings Agency Says

  • July 19, 2015
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The Army’s latest round of restructuring, which is designed to shrink the service’s end strength from 490,000 to 450,000 soldiers by the end of fiscal 2018, could pose a long-term risk for military housing bonds, Fitch Ratings said last week. The 8 percent reduction in Army personnel will not present a short-term risk, however, as only five installations affected by the changes secure Fitch-rated bonds, according to a press release. Four of the five posts are slated to lose about 5 to 6 percent of their military personnel. The fifth is set to experience a slight gain in population …

Anchorage Officials Temper Forecast of Army Cuts’ Impact

  • July 17, 2015
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Following last week’s announcement that Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson would lose 2,631 soldiers — 59 percent of the Army’s population — over the next two years, local economists feared the realignment would deliver a serious blow to the region’s economy. “It’s going to take a big chunk out of the Anchorage economy,” Scott Goldsmith, professor emeritus of economics at the University of Alaska Anchorage Institute of Social and Economic Research, told the Alaska Dispatch News. The area could lose 6,000 jobs — including direct and indirect — and likely send the economy into a recession, Goldsmith predicted …

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