House Budget Process Moves Haltingly Forward
This week the House Budget Committee had planned on moving forward with a budget resolution that would set in motion this year’s appropriations process. However, pressure from budget hawks has imperiled the process, as members of two key Republican caucuses have come out in opposition to the spending levels agreed to in last year’s Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA). Instead of passing a budget at these top levels, the House Freedom Caucus and the Republican Study Committee have announced that most of their members would refuse to pass a budget at the levels set in the BBA. This would put the House on a path to conflict with the Senate and endanger plans to pass individual appropriations bills. In addition, House defense hawks have pushed for additional funding for the Department of Defense, putting extra pressure on the budget committee to determine a path forward. The committee had hoped to begin voting on a budget resolution this week, but given the contentious nature of the debate, that appears unlikely to happen.
While this is going on, oversight hearings for the FY17 budget are well underway with brass trekking over to the House and Senate to present their budgets to the armed services’ and appropriations committees. These hearings will lay down key markers for this year’s NDAA and Defense appropriations legislation and are worth watching (really). Similarly, on Tuesday March 1st, HASC will receive testimony from non-committee members on what they feel should be in the National Defense Authorization Act this year.
The Senate is debating legislation to address increasing levels of opioid abuse, with an amendment to provide $600 million in emergency funding the most contentious piece of an otherwise fairly bipartisan bill. Both chambers will wrap up by Thursday and head off for another week of recess.
Congressional Defense Activity
3/1 United States European Command, Full Committee Hearing
3/1 Air Force Long Range Strike-Bomber (CLOSED), Subcommittee on Airland
3/3 Posture of the Department of the Air Force, Full Committee Hearing
3/1 Member Day – National Defense Priorities from Members for the FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, Full Committee Hearing
3/1 Air Force Projection Forces Aviation Programs and Capabilities for FY 2017, Subcommittee on Seapower & Projection Forces
3/1 Special Operations Forces in an Evolving Threat Environment: A Review of the FY 2017 Budget Request for US SOCOM, Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities
3/2 World Wide Threats, Full Committee Hearing
3/2 Ground Force Modernization Budget Request, Subcommittee on Air & Land Forces
3/2 FY 2017 Budget Request for Department of Defense Nuclear Forces, Subcommittee on Strategic Forces
3/3 The Marine Corps FY 2017 Budget Request and Readiness, Subcommittee on Readiness
3/1 Budget Hearing – US Navy and Marine Corps
3/2 Budget Hearing – US Air Force
3/3 Budget Hearing – US Army
SAC-D – 3/2 Hearing to review the FY 2017 budget request and funding justification for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps
Government Activity Round-up
The DoD comptroller page for budget materials is here, but if you want to see a more comprehensive budget tool, go to analytics.avacent.com and check out our Compass budget module. The GAO also has a report out looking at NASA and major acquisitions that’s got some interesting conclusions here.
Other DC/Defense Activity
On Tuesday, the International Institute for Strategic Studies will roll out their new 2016 Military Balance, the go-to resource for anyone wondering how many BMP-1s are still kicking around and includes really top-notch analysis of country-level defense activity. Also Tuesday, the Brookings Institution is hosting a forum on ‘Beyond 2016: Security Challenges and Opportunities for the Next Administration’. On Wednesday, the Atlantic Council will look at what’s next in Libya in a session appropriately titled, “Libya: What’s Next?”. Lastly, on Friday, the Center for Strategic & International Studies will host an event on ‘Strategic Intelligence: A View from the National Intelligence Council (NIC)’.