Senate and House Advance Defense Legislation
Last week, the House of Representatives passed its version of appropriations funding for the Department of Defense for FY2017. Its adoption, combined with the Senate’s belated passage of the FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), means that Congress has now moved on three of the four annual defense funding bills. The only remaining item before the focus shifts to conference negotiation is the Senate’s adoption of the Senate Appropriations Committee Defense legislation. The passage of the legislation represented the first use by the House Republican majority of a ‘structured rule’ on an appropriations bill, allowing it to block consideration of some amendments. This may allow the House to advance further in the appropriations process than originally expected, though it remains highly unlikely that Congress will be able to avoid a CR at the end of the fiscal year.
The House Appropriations legislation provides an additional $16 billion in base spending by only providing OCO funding for part of FY2017. This structure is similar to the House-passed NDAA and has drawn opposition from some Democrats and the White House. However, the legislation still attracted significant Democratic support on the floor. More interestingly, the Senate-passed NDAA does not contain the additional funds found in the House legislation. An attempt by Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain to increase funding was defeated on the floor, and will likely complicate attempts to reconcile the House and Senate bills. While undoubtedly Senate negotiators would be interested in increasing funding, the rejection of the McCain amendment calls into question whether such a bill would succeed on the Senate floor. We remain convinced that the NDAA will eventually be adopted, but it remains unclear if that will take place prior to the end of the fiscal year.
After a busy series of months, both chambers are off defense matters this week. The Senate will focus on a series of gun-control related amendments as part of consideration of the Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriations bill. In the House, a series of measures aimed at rolling back regulations will be considered. Both chambers head out for the 4th of July recess on Friday before coming back for a busy two weeks in July.
Congressional Defense Activity
- SASC – 6/21 Nominations Hearing, SD-G50 Dirksen Senate Office Building, 930am
- HASC – 6/22 Military Cyber Operations, 2118 Rayburn House Office Building, 10am
- HAC-D – No hearing scheduled
- SAC-D – No hearing scheduled
Government Activity Round-Up
A couple of interesting new GAO pieces. The first is a podcast on how agencies could improve cyber security; even the intro graphic looking at NASA, NRC, OPM & the VA is interesting. Second, a piece out looking at how DoD handles electronic waste. Main takeaway: mixed results from DoD with some interesting recommendations.
The CBO has put together an interesting look at the macroeconomic effects of federal investment. Those looking to tout job creation and multiplier effects might find this interesting reading.
Other DC/Defense Activity
Lots of interesting Avascent material in the past couple of weeks. On Monday, Megan Vaughan-Albert released a new white paper ‘Unlocking Potential: Harnessing Analytics Tools for Federal Health Data’. Last month Doug Berenson & Daniel Yoon have put together a comprehensive look at the ‘Dynamics of International Military Modernization 2016’ that is available for download here. Plus you can check out Doug talking about the paper with Defense News’ Aaron Mehta here. In addition, Alek Jovovic and Jon Barney have published their ‘Survey of Defense Offsets, Global Partnerships, and Industrial Cooperation: Rising Awareness, Enduring Challenges and 7 Key Steps for Success’, which can be downloaded here.
We’re looking forward to reading about an AEI event featuring the staff directors of both SASC and HASC. Between different approaches to reform at DoD and a variety of other issues, this hopefully would provide interesting information on the path forward on the NDAA. On Wednesday evening the German Marshall Fund will look at the upcoming UK Brexit referendum and forecast whether they will stay or they will go. After some momentum for ‘Remain’ polls seem to still be tight, with forecasting markets giving a slight edge to ‘Remain’ heading into voting on the 23rd. On Thursday, a combination of foundations are coming together to host a seminar on the ‘Warsaw NATO Summit: Preview of Agenda Priorities‘. Lastly, on Friday as Congress clears out for a week, the Atlantic Council is hosting an event on ‘Shape, Steer, and Sustain: A US Strategy for the New Global Economic Order’.