• Budget Differences Put Military at Risk, Top Pentagon Officials Testify0

    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 …

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  • Resolution to Budget Dispute Not Coming Soon, Republicans Indicate0

    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 …

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  • Congress Close to Clearing FY’16 Budget Resolution0

    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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  • GOP Plan to Rely on OCO Funds to Boost Defense Spending Survives House Vote0

    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 …

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  • House Votes on Milcon Spending Bill Held up over Reliance on OCO Funds0

    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 …

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