FEDERAL BUDGET UPDATE – (21 September 2015 – By: Greg Lankler – Mercury)
The Outlook for a Possible Government Shutdown
For those of you that remember the 2013 government shutdown, a mere 102 weeks ago, it should feel like déjà vu’ all over again. Only this time around, the immovable object is funding for Planned Parenthood, not Obamacare. But a new explosive variable is present this time that has not been present in any prior year countdowns to a possible government shutdown – an effort to remove the House Speaker initiated by members of his own caucus.
The move afoot to eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood is being led by at least 31 House Republican Members who sent a letter to the Speaker earlier this month declaring they will oppose any funding measure that includes funding for Planned Parenthood. Implicitly, this would include any Continuing Resolution (CR) which may be needed to keep the government open past September 30th while an agreement is worked out on the myriad of funding issues that need to be resolved prior to the end of the year. These issues could include a possible agreement to lift the budget caps on defense and non-defense accounts, an omnibus appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2016, funding for federal highway programs, and authorization needed to increase the federal debt limit.
All this is occurring while in the background, some members of the House Freedom Caucus, whose membership includes anywhere from 40-60 conservative Republicans (their size is not publicly disclosed), have been making moves for a vote to take down Speaker Boehner.
So here’s the Speaker’s conundrum – if the House passes a CR which eliminates funding for Planned Parenthood it will never get passed the Senate where Democrats have enough votes to procedurally kill it. Without a CR, the government shuts down. So the only way a CR gets passed by both the House and Senate and signed by the President is if it includes funding for Planned Parenthood. Since most if not all of the members opposed to Planned Parenthood would vote against this CR, the Speaker will have to count on the votes of House Democrats to pass the CR. Under this circumstance, there is a very real possibility that members of the Freedom Caucus would be so outraged that the Speaker turned to the Democrats to pass the CR, they would move to have the Speaker removed. And, not even the best vote counters on Capitol Hill can say at this time whether Speaker Boehner would have enough votes from his House Republicans to survive this vote and remain Speaker.
This is the dynamic in which all options are being considered, an extremely volatile environment in which the Speaker and his leadership team must find a way forward. Despite the fact that many of us have witnessed previous showdowns over federal funding between Republicans and Democrats, and the Congress and the President, there hasn’t been one in recent memory where the Speakership was on the line. It’s anybody’s guess how this all gets resolved, but the likelihood of a government shutdown for some period of time is very high.
The Outlook for Defense Appropriations
The outstanding issue that needs to be resolved for passage of a defense appropriations bill for fiscal year 2016 remains to be a determination on what to do about the budget caps on defense and non-defense spending mandated by the Budget Control Act. House and Senate Republicans have added $38 billion for defense that is above the caps. Democrats are insisting that non-defense discretionary spending also be increased. If an agreement can be reached which provides relief from the budget caps, passage of a defense appropriations bill becomes a certainty. The absence of an agreement would suggest a legislative environment so toxic that none of the appropriations bills can be moved and the Department of Defense, along with all other federal departments, could be forced to operate under a full year CR that requires them to adhere to previous year funding levels (FY15) and restricts their authority to start any new development or procurement programs – a first in the history for defense appropriations.
The Outlook for Defense Authorization
The outlook here is not as gloomy as it is for appropriations. The leadership of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees are closing in on a bipartisan agreement for the Fiscal Year 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). A few sticky issues remain – a dispute over military health care fees and a plan for closing Guantanamo Bay – but the committee leaders are optimistic about their ability to come to a compromise on these issues. The two biggest threats here are finding an agreement in time for consideration on a crowded year-end legislative calendar, and the fact that without a companion appropriations bill for defense, much of the direction included in the NDAA is without the funding to carry it out.
Go to www.mymacdill.com and see all the ways to get involved.
TBBJ 2015 HEROES AT WORK CALLING FOR NOMINATIONS!!
The 2015 Heroes at Work Awards seek to recognize Tampa Bay veterans who, through their professional and personal efforts, are making a positive impact throughout the community. Nomination categories are:
Business Services Media
Financial Services Technology
Real Estate Health and wellness
Education Nonprofit / Social Services
Government Young (Under 40 by 11/30/2015)
TAKE THE TIME TO NOMINATE VETERANS AT YOUR WORKPLACE – NOMINATIONS ACCEPTED HERE Nominations deadline is Friday, 25 September!!!
Finalists will be honored at an awards ceremony on Thursday, November 12, 2015. At this event we will announce the award category winners and one overall Tampa Bay Business Journal 2015 Hero at Work. In addition, the Tampa Bay Business Journal will feature all category winners and the overall winner in a special publication to be published on Friday, November 13, 2015. If you have any questions, please contact Briana Sellers, Events Manager at 813-342-2462 or email Eventstampa@bizjournals.com.
2015 UPCOMING EVENTS – FOR MORE DETAILS ON EVENTS LISTED BELOW VISIT
Visit our weekly newsletters and military events on our website! We will archive past newsletters for your reference and maintain a calendar of events that are listed each week in the newsletters.
The link for the newsletters is: Weekly Military Information, and the direct link to the events calendar is: Events Calendar.
Joint Holiday Event Fundraiser for SEGD Paws for Patriots Program
This year, the Greater Tampa Bay Women in Defense (WID), National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA), Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA), Global SOF Foundation (GSOF) and Florida Defense Contractors Association (FDCA) will join together for a holiday party in December and raise funds for the Southeastern Guide Dogs Paws for Patriots Program.
Last December, we held a joint holiday party that included both fundraising and a silent auction. We raised $31,223.00 for the Paws for Patriots Program at this event!!
The funds received allowed us to sponsor three “Teams for Life”. A team for life sponsorship supports the partnership between the student and a guide or service dog until its retirement. Students receive service animals at about two years of age, and dogs will work until retirement at around ten years of age. $30,000 was applied to supporting three teams for life, and the additional $1,223 was applied to sponsoring a veteran during their 10-day training regimen with their service dog. Attached are the photos and biographies of the three “Teams for Life” we sponsored.
Southeastern Guide Dogs transforms lives by bringing together inspiring people and extraordinary dogs, providing all of its services free of charge while receiving no government funding. Paws for Patriots pairs highly trained guide dogs with visually impaired veterans; exceptional service dogs with veterans living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; well-behaved emotional support dogs with veterans for companionship and emotional support in the home; and calming therapy dogs working in military healthcare facilities.
This year, we’ve set a goal to raise $60,000 at this event to allow us to sponsor six “Teams for Life”. In addition to fundraising activities, we will be holding a silent auction and collecting monetary donations at our event.
If you are interested in donating funds please Donate Here or if you have silent auction items for our event this year, please contact Denise Ennis (Ennisd@Pragmatics.com) for more details. Register for the event here.