• Obama Signs Defense Bill0

    President Obama on Wednesday signed the reworked version of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill despite misgivings about its lack of cost-saving reforms proposed by DOD and several provisions restricting the closure of the military prison at Guantánamo. “I am also disappointed that the Congress failed to enact meaningful reforms to divest unneeded force structure, reduce wasteful overhead, and modernize military healthcare. These reforms are essential to maintaining a strong national defense over the long term,” Obama said at the conclusion of his signing statement. Much of the president’s statement, though, was devoted to blasting lawmakers for blocking the administration from shuttering the detention facility at Guantánamo and moving some detainees to the U.S. …

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  • Appropriators Continue to Work toward Dec. 11 Deadline for Omnibus

    Appropriators Continue to Work toward Dec. 11 Deadline for Omnibus0

    Appropriators continue to hash out the differences between House and Senate versions of each of the 12 fiscal 2016 spending bills as they aim to beat the Dec. 11 deadline to pass a $1.1 trillion omnibus before the existing continuing resolution expires. Subcommittee-level talks are scheduled to finish soon, with unresolved issues over funding and language slated to be handed over to the full House and Senate Appropriations committees afterward. Committee leaders will need to release a bill text by the end of the first week in December to leave time for the two chambers to consider the omnibus …

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  • Senate Approves Milcon Spending Bill in Unanimous Vote

    Senate Approves Milcon Spending Bill in Unanimous Vote0

    The Senate on Tuesday approved the fiscal 2016 military construction-veterans affairs spending bill by a 93-0 vote, wrapping up debate on the eve of Veterans Day. “Today the Senate put our veterans first,” Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), chair of the Military Construction-VA Appropriations Subcommittee, said after the Senate finished consideration of its first full-year appropriations bill for FY 2016. Prior to the final vote, the chamber adopted a substitute amendment that adjusted spending levels in the legislation originally advanced by the Senate Appropriations Committee to reflect the recent two-year budget agreement. The substitute amendment added $2.1 billion to the committee-reported measure to provide a total of $79.7 billion in discretionary funding …

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  • Senate Approval of Milcon Spending Bill Will Not Cut Short Negotiations over Omnibus

    Senate Approval of Milcon Spending Bill Will Not Cut Short Negotiations over Omnibus0

    The Senate’s planned vote this week on a fiscal 2016 military construction-veterans affairs spending bill won’t save Congress any time putting together a year-end omnibus, and largely will allow lawmakers to show their support for the politically popular measure. “This is simply an opportunity for all senators to advocate for their ideas by debating, amending and passing a stand-alone appropriations measure on the Senate floor for the first time since 2011,” said Stephen Worley, a spokesman for the Senate Appropriations Committee. Senate leaders are hoping to approve the bill Tuesday evening, but even assuming it passes as expected, House and Senate appropriators still will need to hash out differences between the two chambers’ versions as they aim to complete an omnibus with all 12 spending bills by Dec. 11, when the current continuing resolution expires …

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  • Enactment of Defense Bill Should Ease Blockade of Civilian Nominees

    Enactment of Defense Bill Should Ease Blockade of Civilian Nominees0

    Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) this week indicated he would allow civilian nominations to the Defense Department to advance to the chamber floor as soon as President Obama signs the reworked version of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill into law. “We want the NDAA signed,” McCain said, reported Politico. “Then, we’ll look at the whole situation.” McCain has been sitting on more than a dozen civilian nominees, refusing to schedule confirmation hearings. On Thursday, the House easily approved the revised fiscal 2016 authorization bill, 370 to 58. The Senate is scheduled to take up the measure next Tuesday …

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  • Senate Reaches Agreement to Debate FY’16 Milcon Spending Bill0

    The Senate on Thursday voted to start debate on the military construction-veterans affairs spending bill, following an apparent agreement between Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to use the measure as the vehicle for the fiscal 2016 omnibus spending package. “I’m hopeful the [military construction]-VA appropriations bill will help us move toward a bipartisan, omnibus funding bill both parties can accept,” Reid told reporters. “In my conversations this morning with Senator McConnell, I think that’s where we’re headed,” he said …

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