House in Recess with Senate Soon to Follow
With the 4th of July rapidly approaching, it should be a quiet week on the Hill. The House of Representatives recessed last week amidst a late-night attempt at a veto override and a much publicized Democratic sit-in. The Senate is still in session though, as Republican leaders will try to finish up consideration of the Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations bill. Republican leaders will also look to pass legislation related to Zika aid and a bill to prevent Puerto Rico from defaulting on July 1st. All of these bills face uncertain fates due to objections from Democrats and the White House. One way or another, the Senate will depart on Friday for a 4th of July break with Congress far from any clear path to providing funding for the Department of Defense (or anywhere else) for 2017.
As we have previously stated, our expectation is that, despite protestations to the contrary, a continuing resolution to fund the government through the 2016 elections followed by adoption of some sort of omnibus either in a lame duck or early next year (depending upon the election results) is the most likely resolution to this year’s appropriations process. As seen in the chart below, Congress has made precious little progress on the 12 appropriations bills needed to fund the government.
In order to avoid a continuing resolution or some sort of omnibus, the House would need to pass eight bills in six weeks and the Senate would need to pass ten. They would also need to go to conference on these bills and negotiate a final bill, which would then need to pass both chambers as well. These bills would also have to be acceptable to the White House, which has issued veto threats on basically every bill that has had a floor vote (Legislative Branch appropriations being the exception). Given the speed at which Congress works, this is highly unlikely to happen. It is likely that the leadership will maintain the pretense of passing appropriations through the two-week July work period, but for most budget watchers the question will be what the CR looks like that will need to be passed in September and, crucially, how long it runs.
Outside of the budget process, the White House and the House of Representatives are squabbling over whether or not the President should have to answer questions from the House Select Committee on Benghazi, which continues to grind along over two years after its creation.
Congressional Defense Activity
- 6/28 Improving Strategic Integration at the Department of Defense, SH-216 Hart, 930am
- 6/30 CLOSED: National Security Cyber and Encryption Challenges, SVC-217, 930am
- HASC – No hearing scheduled
- HAC-D – No hearing scheduled
- SAC-D – No hearing scheduled
Government Activity Round-Up
Several interesting new GAO reports looking at a variety of DoD and space issues. On 6/22, GAO released a report on Commercial Space: Industry Developments and FAA Challenges. On the DoD side, there are two reports out; the first looks at facility management and recommends revising guidance to improve oversight and the second looks at Army Industrial Operations budgeting.
Nothing new at CBO, so we’ll just relink to an interesting look at the macroeconomic effects of federal investment.
Other DC/Defense Activity
On Wednesday, June 29th, Avascent will be hosting a webinar on the Farnborough Airshow looking at Defense & Commercial trends. Go here to sign up. Last week, 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.
On Monday afternoon, the Atlantic Council is hosting an event on NATO After Brexit with former Ambassador Nicholas Burns and General Jim Jones (Ret.). On Tuesday, the Turkish Heritage Organization will hold an event looking at Turkish-Israeli relations that seems timely given this morning’s declaration that the countries will normalize their relationship. On Wednesday, IISS will host an event on tensions in the South China Seas as part of their Shangri-La Dialogue. On Thursday, Young Professionals in Foreign Policy will host a session of their Trade & Finance Module titled “Globalization: Multinationals and the role of the private sector in trade negotiations”. Lastly, on Friday, no one will host anything because it’s 4th of July weekend and everyone in DC will be scurrying off for the long weekend.