By Matt Vallone, Director of Research & Analysis
Main Story: House Armed Services Committee Gears up for the FY 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)
This week neither chamber will have on the floor any legislation directly relevant to aerospace and defense, but things are starting to get busy in the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) as they prepare to pass the NDAA. Last week, Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) and Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA) introduced the bill that will become the eventual HASC NDAA. Up next will be subcommittee markups, followed by the day-long (and then some) full committee markup on April 26th. Expect more here on that legislation as it continues through the process.
House Activity – The House will continue work on a series of financial services bills. Up this week is legislation addressing fraud protection for vulnerable populations (H.R. 5192), and legislation reforming the IRS (H.R. 5444 and H.R. 5445).
Senate Activity – The Senate will spend the week on two pieces of legislation. S.140 amends the White Mountain Apache Tribe Water Rights Quantification Act of 2010 to clarify how some of the funding can be used, and to make changes to how tribal entities are regulated by the National Labor Relations Board. In addition, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has initiated a floor procedure under Rule 14 that will allow him to place a bill that would allow hemp production to be put on the Senate’s calendar.
- 4/17 “Nominations – Davidson – O’Shaughnessy”, Full Committee Hearing, SD-G50 Dirksen, 930am
- 4/17 “Navy Shipbuilding Programs”, Subcommittee on Seapower Hearing, SR-232A Russell, 230pm
- 4/18 “Accelerating New Technologies to Meet Emerging Threats”, Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities Hearing”, SR-232A Russell, 230pm
- 4/18 “Air Force Modernization”, Subcommittee on Airland Hearing, SR-222 Russell, 330pm
- 4/19 “Posture of the Department of the Navy”, Full Committee Hearing, SD-G50 Dirksen, 930am
- 4/17 “Promoting DoD’s Culture of Innovation”, Full Committee Hearing, 2118 Rayburn, 10am
- 4/17 “Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Request for Missile Defense and Missile Defeat Programs”, Subcommittee on Strategic Forces Hearing, 2118 Rayburn, 330pm
- 4/18 “Oversight and Reform of the Department of Defense ‘4th Estate’”, Full Committee Hearing, 2118 Rayburn, 10am
- 4/18 “Fiscal Year 2019 Energy, Installations and Environment Budget Request”, Subcommittee on Readiness Hearing, 2212 Rayburn, 2pm
- 4/18 “Ground Force Modernization Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2019”, Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces Hearing, 2118 Rayburn, 2pm
- 4/19 “Army Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Request Readiness Posture”, Subcommittee on Readiness Hearing, 2118 Rayburn, 10am
- 4/19 “Military Health System Reform: Pain Management, Opioids Prescription Management and Reporting Transparency”, Subcommittee on Military Personnel Hearing, 2212 Rayburn, 103
- HAC-D – No hearings scheduled
- 4/17 “Hearing to Review the FY2019 Budget Request for the National Guard and Reserve”, 192 Dirksen, 10am
Government Activity Round-up
Two interesting GAO reports were released in the past week. The first looks at the Coast Guard’s Polar Icebreaker acquisition. The report doesn’t provide any recommendations or criticism of the acquisition effort, but does provide an overview of the shipbuilding effort on the three-vessel program to date. Full report here. The second report is a review of the Department of Defense’s fighter pilot workforce retainment efforts. Over the past decade, the staffing level of Air Force fighter pilots has dropped significantly below the authorized number. In 2017, USAF only filled 73% of authorized positions. Similarly, the USMC and the USN both only filled 76% and 74% of positions, respectively. The study looks at the current requirements for fighter pilots and concurs with the services’ recommendation that they should be reviewed and revised. Full report here.
The CBO released its latest baseline assessment of ‘The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2018 to 2028”. Its findings are rather grim. Debt held by the public will likely reach 100% of GDP by 2028 under current law. But if expiring tax cuts are extended or spending is increased above the BCA baselines in 2020 and 2021, that could occur even earlier. “Projected deficits have increased markedly since June 2017, when CBO issued its previous projects. The increase stems primarily from tax and spending legislation enacted since then – essentially Public Law 115-97 (originally called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act…), the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-123), and the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (P.L. 115-141). The legislation has significantly reduced revenues and increased outlays anticipated under current law.” From an economic perspective, the report forecasts near-term growth followed by stable economic performance. More here.
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