Welcome back to the Avascent Analytics Political Report — the first of 2016. Happy New Year to all our readers!
By: Matt Vallone
Congress Returns for a Productive Year (?)
On Tuesday Congress will gavel in the second session of the 114th Congress, hopefully kicking off a short (only 28 weeks in session this year) but productive second year that builds on the successes of the end of 2015. However, that will remain to be seen as this week the House will be in session for some suspension bills and to send a repeal of the Affordable Care Act to the White House for an inevitable veto.
It is unlikely that there will be major Congressional defense activity prior to the budget’s arrival in early February, at which point oversight hearings will begin and the process leading to the National Defense Authorization Act will get underway in the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) and the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC). In the early spring, Congress will likely take up a formal budget resolution for FY 2017, though it is unlikely that there will be major changes to the top lines agreed to in last year’s Bipartisan Budget Act. Once the budget resolution is adopted, the Appropriations Committees will get to work on the individual appropriations bills. Unlike last year, it is possible that Congress may enact some of the twelve bills it is supposed to prior to the end of the fiscal year, but the odds are against it. The last time all twelve bills were adopted was in 1997, and it has only happened four times since the adoption of the modern budget process in 1974. That being said, no reason not to be optimistic early in the year and, regardless, we’ll be here to document it as it happens.
Congressional Defense Activity
Only the House is in session this week and the floor schedule is unrelated/uncontroversial suspension bills and reconciliation repealing the Affordable Care Act.
SASC – Out of Session this week
1/7 – Acquisition Reform: Experimentation and Agility, Full Committee Hearing
1/8 – Effects of Reduced Infrastructure and Base Operating Support Investments on Navy Readiness, Readiness Subcommittee
Government Activity Round-up
A handful of reports from late 2015 are available from the GAO, but pending new budget leaks, no really significant new documents are out. The government has stated that the budget should be delivered on time on Monday February 1st, but it remains to be seen when full documentation will be made available.
The Pentagon completed a multi year contract for C-130Js just before the end of 2015 (12/30) when it awarded Lockheed Martin a contract for 78 C-130Js to be delivered between 2016 and 2020. The overall contract value is $5.3 billion per the Lockheed Martin press release. More details available here.