By Matt Vallone, Senior Analysis Manager
Main Story – End of Year Maneuvering Begins in Earnest
You may have missed it, but this year’s attempt at a normal appropriations process came to an end last Thursday in the Senate. Senate Republicans failed to break a Democratic filibuster on the Defense appropriations bill, only securing a simple majority when 60 votes were needed to move to consideration of the legislation. Given that Congress is only in session for five more weeks this fiscal year, it is clear that, come September 30th, Congress will be looking at some sort of continuing resolution (also known as a ‘CR’) to stay open. While it’s been pretty clear that this would be the case for some time, what’s more interesting is that now various Congressional groups are beginning to lay out what their end games may look like.
The first proposal out of the gates from any party for the upcoming CR is from House conservatives, who plan on pushing for a six-month CR. This would take federal funding pass not just the November election, but into March of 2017. This would also likely align debate over appropriations with the need to raise the debt ceiling, setting up a potentially major fiscal fight in the first few months of a new administration. It remains to be seen how Republican leadership will respond. One complicating factor in any budget push by House conservatives is their likely unwillingness to vote for an eventual omnibus spending bill. Past Republican leadership has frequently found itself forced to rely on Democratic votes for crucial funding bills, severely reducing the ability of House conservatives to direct legislation. However, as of now, most budget watchers should take some time to enjoy the Nats this summer, as we likely won’t know more about what may happen until we get into September.
There are a variety of suspension bills (as per usual) on the House floor this week, as well as a series of rule bills including legislation aimed at expanding judicial review of agency interpretations of the law, appropriations legislation (Interior, Environment & Related Agencies), and a variety of bills aimed at Iran.
- 7/12 CLOSED: National Security Cyber and Encryption Challenges, SCV-217 Capitol Visitor Center, 930am
- 7/14 Testimony on Cybersecurity and U.S. National Security, SD-G50 Dirksen, 930am
- 7/13 air dominance and the Critical Role of Fifth Generation Fighters, 2212 Rayburn, 2pm
- 7/13 Oversight of European Reassurance Initiative, 2118 Rayburn, 330pm
- 7/14 President Obama’s Nuclear Deterrent Modernization Plans and Budgets: The Military Requirements, 2118 Rayburn, 330pm
- HAC-D – No hearing scheduled
- SAC – 7/13 No SAC-D hearings, but the Energy and Water Development Subcommittee is holding a hearing on the nuclear cruise missile 138 Dirksen, 1030am (CLOSED session to follow)
Government Activity Round-Up
This past week at the GAO was all about satellites, with two reports of interest. One report looks at challenges in acquiring weather satellites and the other looks at NOAA’s Polar satellites. For those of you less galactically inclined, there’s also a report out looking at DHS and CBP’s work on improving maritime cargo security.
Nothing too new at the CBO, though there is an interesting look at the impact of US involvement with the IMF.
Other DC/Defense Activity
It’s Farnborough week over in the UK, meaning a sizeable contingent from Avascent has decamped to London for the Farnborough Airshow. Last week we offered a primer on what to expect that you can review here. However, stay tuned to our twitter feeds (@avascent and @avascent050) for more info on what’s happening.
There are all sorts of events (though none of which involve flyovers) going on back here in DC, as think tanks and lobby shops look to get one last event in before the summer break. On Monday, the Wilson Center is hosting an event looking at the Pacific Alliance (Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru). On Tuesday, the German Marshall Fund is hosting Congressman Michael Turner to discuss ‘NATO After the Warsaw Summit’. The Library of Congress has an event at noon on Wednesday looking at the new book ‘Cartoons for Victory’. On a more serious note, the Atlantic Council is hosting US SOUTHCOM Commander Kurt W. Tidd on Wednesday evening. Lastly, on Thursday, Brookings is hosting an event on ‘The Future of the Global Economic Order in an Era of Rising Populism’ featuring Dan Drezner.
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