By: Matt Vallone
Congress Likely to Adopt Omnibus Spending Bill This Week
After passing a short funding extension Friday, Congress is back in session this week attempting to avoid a government shutdown. On Friday, both chambers agreed to a CR that extended funding through Wednesday with the hope that an agreement could be reached this weekend and voted on by mid-week. However, as of Monday morning, no agreement has been announced and negotiations continue. Most likely, a deal will be reached today and the text posted tonight with final votes occurring on Wednesday. However, given the tight timeline to get a bill through both chambers in just a couple of days, it is entirely possible that another mini-CR may be adopted to provide a couple of extra days for passage.
In terms of what negotiators are fighting over, there is very little that is relevant to aerospace and defense. Points of contention include high profile fights over blocking or limiting refugee resettlement pending Congressional action and defunding Planned Parenthood, but also include restrictions on climate regulations, changes to the Dodd-Frank financial reform, and the current ban on oil exports. The sections on the Department of Defense have likely been agreed to for some time and merely await publication.
However, in news that is highly relevant to aerospace and defense firms has been the shift in outlook for a major extension of a variety of lapsed tax benefits. On Friday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced her opposition to a proposed permanent extension of a variety of tax breaks. Given Pelosi’s tight grip on House Democrats, this makes it unlikely a permanent extension can be part of any omnibus spending package, as Democratic votes will likely be needed for passage.
Congressional Defense Activity
A funding bill will need to be passed by the end of December 16th and it is highly likely that an omnibus appropriations bill funding the government through FY 2016 will be passed sometime this week. Lapsed tax extenders are also expected to be dealt with as part of the appropriations package.
Weekly Political Schedule
House Defense Activity-
House Armed Services Hearings: No events this week
Senate Armed Services Hearings:
12/15 – Nominations Hearing for the Honorable Patrick Murphy (To Be Under Secretary of the Army), Dr. Janine Anne Davidson (To Be Under Secretary of the Navy), and the Honorable Lisa S. Disbrow (To Be Under Secretary of the Air Force)
Government Activity Round-up
President Obama is visiting the Pentagon today as part of a week-long series of events on national security. On Thursday he will visit the National Terrorism Center.
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Joseph Dunford & Defense Secretary Ashton Carter will take part in a forum hosted by the Center for A New American Security and Defense One.
The GAO has released two reports relevant to aerospace and defense. One is looking at the need to improve the safety and performance of how security-sensitive materials are transported.