Weekly Military Information – 29 July 2015
Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce Senior Enlisted Reception: Registration CLOSES COB THIS THURSDAY, 30 JULY for the Senior Enlisted Reception to be held at Surf’s Edge at MacDill Air Force Base. You can register online here for individual admission tickets and sponsorship opportunities. For each ticket purchased, one senior enlisted member receives a complimentary ticket. This is a chance to honor the men and women who defend our nation on a daily basis. Click here for more information.
DEFENSE BUDGET UPDATE – (27 JULY 2015 – By: Greg Lankler – Mercury)
Despite House passage of the Fiscal Year 2016 Defense Appropriations Bill back in June and the Senate’s version being reported by the Senate Appropriations Committee on June 2nd, further action on this legislation has stalled with little hope of passage before the fiscal year begins on October 1st. Senate Democrats are refusing to let any appropriations bills be considered until there is an agreement on more funding for domestic programs to match defense funding increases that the Republican majorities in both the House and Senate have included in the defense appropriations bills. Both versions of the bill provide an additional $38 billion in funding for defense programs that is above the Budget Control Act (BCA) caps. The House will go into the August recess at the end of this week and the Senate will go into recess the following week. When both chambers return in September, there will only be a few legislative days before the next fiscal year begins, and coming to some sort of an agreement to get out of this mess in that brief period is highly unlikely. Last week, House Speaker John Boehner stated that a continuing resolution (CR) will likely be necessary to avoid a government shutdown at the end of the fiscal year. Government funding is set to expire on September 30th, and the Speaker has acknowledged there is not enough time to complete debate on the numerous appropriation bills, including defense. The Speaker has emphatically asserted that a shutdown was unlikely and that he has already engaged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell about crafting a CR to avoid a last-minute scramble at the end of September. With a CR a certainty, the focus will be on whether Republicans and Democrats can come to an agreement that provides additional funding for both defense and non-defense programs above the BCA caps. An agreement will mean passage in some form of the Defense Appropriations bill and some mix of other appropriations bills. Failure to reach an agreement would likely mean that both the defense department and the rest of the government would run under a year-long CR that provides funding at, or close to, fiscal year 2015 levels. It’s important to note that the Defense Department has never run under a year-long CR.
Negotiations over the FY16 National Defense Authorization Act conference agreement have also stalled and will likely have to resume in September after the August recess. Differences over a handful of provisions including military benefits, acquisition reform, and Guantanamo Bay have halted completion of the discussions. HASC Ranking Member Adam Smith stated that he did not believe the conference agreement would be completed by the end of the week as had been hoped. House and Senate leadership had originally targeted completion of the negotiations before the start of the August recess.
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