By: Matt Vallone
Obama’s final State of the Union overshadows Congressional sanctions debate
On Tuesday, President Obama will give his final State of the Union (SOTU) address to Congress. For those of us following Congress and events in Washington, there will likely be very little in the way of concrete, legislative proposals in Obama’s speech. While there may be a litany of proposals, aides discussing the speech have painted it as a broader vision of the country than any set of specific proposals. Given that the debt ceiling has been raised and budget levels set for the remainder of his term in office, the broader focus likely reflects the fact that there may be very little accomplished in Washington this year. That being said, we’ll be watching regardless.
Beyond the SOTU, Congress will spend its week debating legislation regarding sanctions. In the House, the most controversial legislation they’ll consider this week is the Iran Terror Finance Transparency Act, which would limit the administration’s ability to lift sanctions on Iran. It has already received a veto threat, but will likely pass on largely party lines on Wednesday or Thursday. The Senate will being the week considering nominees, but will likely take time to pass legislation imposing sanctions on North Korea (the House will pass similar legislation).
In terms of aerospace and defense, the wait on the FY2017 budget continues. While the formal release date is set for February 9th, new information is likely to start trickling out in the run-up to the release.
Congressional Defense Activity
Both chambers are in session this week and will be hosting the President for the State of the Union Address on Tuesday. The Senate will begin the week debating nominees and may turn to sanctions legislation later in the week.
- 1/12 – Defense Health Care Reform, Full committee hearing
- 1/12 – Outside Views on the U.S. Strategy for Iraq and Syria and the Evolution of Islamic Extremism, Full committee hearing
- 1/12 – National Academies Study on Peer Review and Design Competition in the NNSA National Security Laboratories, Subcommittee on Strategic Forces hearing
- 1/13 – Effects of Reduced Infrastructure and Base Operating Support Investments on Air Force Readiness, Subcommittee on Readiness hearing
- 1/13 – Views on Commissary Reform, Subcommittee on Military Personnel
Government Activity Round-up
The State of the Union is the biggest thing going on this week. While the speech will likely focus on big themes, international affairs and national security will probably make an appearance. Expect an attempt to better explain (or sell) the administration’s response to various crises that occurred in 2016. Don’t expect any big announcements on the defense budget or changes to OCO spending. Politico has a good preview here.
For those of you looking for official, updated budget graphics, the CBO has you covered.