By Matt Vallone, Director of Research & Analysis
Main Story: Congress Returns to a Full Plate
After a couple of quiet weeks, Congress returns to a big week full of deadlines and action. First, though, the White House will take center stage as President Trump is set to announce his administration’s tax reform proposal on Wednesday evening. After that, attention will shift to funding the government. The continuing resolution passed in December runs out on Friday night, meaning that the government will shut down on Saturday absent Congressional action. At the same time, the Trump administration is looking at the end of its first 100 days in office and trying to force action on another attempt at repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act in the House. All in all, it looks to be a busy week.
Of interest to aerospace and defense is, of course, the proposed spending bill. Current reports indicate that appropriators in both chambers are considering a deal that would involve an increase in spending at the Department of Defense by at least $10 billion, and likely more. While it appears unlikely that the full $30 billion in the supplemental request will be granted, it does look like there will be an increase in FY17 spending above current levels. However, the fate of any appropriations deal is, at the moment, uncertain. During the recess, the Trump administration made clear that it wants to see some of its key priorities, particularly funding for a border wall, included in the FY17 spending bill. Given that Democrats, as well as many Republicans, have indicated that they oppose the wall, this may cause major problems for the passage of any spending bill. There is a significant possibility of an additional one-or two-week continuing resolution to avoid a shutdown, so stay tuned.
House Activity – The main issue for both chambers this week will be government funding. On the official schedule, the House also will likely pass legislation aimed at making the head of the US Patent & Trademark Office a Senate-confirmed position and a bill that would increase oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Senate Activity – The Senate will approve the nomination of Governor Sonny Perdue for Secretary of Agriculture and then work through other nominations, pending a funding bill.
- 4/25 ‘Policy and Strategy in the Asia-Pacific’, Full Committee Hearing, SD-G50 Dirksen, 930am
- 4/27 ‘United States Pacific Command and United States Forces Korea’, Full Committee Hearing, SD-G50 Dirksen, 930am
- 4/27 ‘Cyber-enabled Information Operations’, Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, SR-222 Russell, 230pm
- 4/26 ‘Military Assessment of the Security Challenges in the Indo-Asia-Pacific Region’, Full Committee Hearing, 2118 Rayburn, 10am
- 4/26 ‘Creating a Flexible and Effective Information Technology Management and Acquisition System: Elements for Success in a Rapidly Changing Landscape’, Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee, 2118 Rayburn, 2pm
- 4/27 ‘Member Day’, Full Committee, 2118 Rayburn, 10am (This is an opportunity for members not on HASC to present suggestions/proposals for the FY2018 NDAA)
- 4/27 ‘Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder/Traumatic Brain Injury’, Military Personnel Subcommittee, 2118 Rayburn, 2pm
- HAC-D – 4/26 ‘US Pacific Command’, H-140, 130pm
- SAC-D – 4/26 ‘Hearing to review National Guard and Reserve programs and readiness’, 192 Dirksen, 1030am
- SAC-SFO – 4/25 ‘United States Assistance to Egypt’, 124 Dirksen, 215pm
Government Activity Round-Up
While Congress may have been out of session, CBO and GAO were clearly busy. CBO has released a review of the Obama administration’s last FYDP that is well worth reading. In the meantime, GAO has released a series of interesting reports regarding DoD programs and government IT. First, GAO convened a forum to discuss ‘Information Technology: Opportunities for Improving Acquisitions and Operations’ and reported out the highlights. Next up is a review of the F-35 development program. GAO concludes, “Before committing dollars to future F-35 capabilities, DOD should complete development of the baseline aircraft.” GAO also investigated the USMC’s Amphibious Combat Vehicle program, recommending that “the Marine Corps, via the Navy, make more realistic cost comparisons, and postpone ACV production decisions until early fiscal year 2019.” Lastly, GAO took a look at the LCS and Future Frigate programs, and specifically when the Navy should select a contractor for the frigate program. GAO recommends “that Congress delay this decision (worth about $9 billion) until more information is known about the frigate’s cost, design, and capabilities.”
Lastly, we have released a new white paper looking at “Allied Preparedness in an ‘America First’ World”. We use data from our proprietary GPS database to analyze how ready countries in Europe and Asia would be should the Trump administration execute an ‘America First’ strategy. Take a look.
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