The Political Report 12/19/2019

 In Political Report

Main Story: Impeachment Proceedings Overshadow Year-End Wrap-Up of Spending Negotiations

After months of negotiations, Democrats and Republicans came together to pass funding legislation that largely punted major issues that had delayed appropriations for months on end. The status quo on the southern border wall—where Congress appropriates low levels of funding, but the White House ignores Congress by transferring money from other sources—will continue. There were no Democratic policy riders of note included. Instead, Democrats celebrated increasing non-defense spending levels, Republicans celebrated increasing defense spending, and neither said anything about rising deficits.

As this unfolded, Congress also managed to pass S. 1790, the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), keeping its active streak alive. Avascent will have more details on the NDAA and on the appropriations bills in the next Political Report, but for now some highlights are below:

  • Department of Defense spending will be $695.1 billion in FY2020 with a base budget of $622.7 billion, $70.7 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations and $1.8 billion in emergency funding. This represents an increase of $19.5 billion above the FY2019 enacted level.
  • Legislation includes $40 million to stand up the Space Force, a compromise number between the $72 million requested by the White House and $32 million appropriated by the House of Representatives.
  • A number of major procurement programs saw increases as well:
    • 20 additional F-35 aircraft, bringing the total order to 98 F-35s for $9.3 billion;
    • 11 additional MQ-9 Reapers, bringing the total to 26 for $522 million;
    • Three additional P-8 aircraft, bringing the total to nine for $1.7 billion;
    • Eight additional C-130Js, bringing the total to 20 C-130J variants for $1.8 billion;
    • One additional Ship-to-Shore connector for $65 million; and
    • $249 million in additional funding for Stryker upgrades.
    • Notable RDT&E program changes include:
    • An additional $75.6 million in funding for the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) Program to support the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft, bringing the total on FVL spending to $505.9 million; and
    • An additional $150.6 million for hypersonics development.

House Activity

The House impeached President Trump on Wednesday, December 18, 2019. So far this appears to have had no impact on defense spending or unrelated legislation and, as the Senate is highly unlikely to remove the President, its impact on the administration’s policies is likely to be minimal.

Senate Activity

The Senate is passing funding legislation to keep the government open.

Congressional Defense Activity

  •  HFAC
    • No hearings this week
  • SFRC
    • No hearings this week
  • SASC
    • No hearings this week
  • HASC
    • No hearings this week
  •  SAC-D
    • No hearings this week
  •  HAC-D
    • No hearings this week

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