Political Report: 12/12/2017

 In Weekly Wire

Main Story: NDAA Signing and Higher Spending Levels in Potential Budget Deal May Mean a Merry Christmas for Defense

As the clock ticks closer to Christmas, Congress has yet to resolve any of the major issues facing it, but at least the NDAA should be signed as the White House is expected to host a signing ceremony on Tuesday, December 12th. While not an exact match for appropriations, the NDAA lays out the intent of the relevant policy committees and serves as a useful guideline for most Congressional priorities. We did a more in-depth analysis of the NDAA back in November, but it is worth revisiting as recent reporting indicates that a spending deal may come in at significantly higher topline levels than many were expecting.

According to Politico, the basis of a spending deal being negotiated between Congressional Democrats and Republicans would be to increase discretionary spending by close to $200 billion above the budget caps. Defense spending would receive an additional $73 billion in spending (for a total of $622), non-defense would receive an additional $56 billion, and there would be an additional $70 billion in OCO. This deal would also lock in an increase in 2019, though that number remains unclear. This would represent a significant increase from the President’s budget request. It’s worth noting that a deal has not yet been finalized and there are plenty of issues that could derail any deal, but the early leaks sound promising for those looking for a major increase in defense spending. Such an increase would be surprising given recent trends and would represent a significant defeat for deficit hawks.

For those of you doing holiday planning, we will have one more Political Report next week before taking a break with Congress until after the new year.

House Activity

The House has a series of votes this week on a whole host of suspension bills, but will also take up more controversial matters such as legislation imposing increased sanctions on Iran and legislation regarding privacy and mortgage escrows.

Senate Activity

The Senate will be voting on nominations this week as negotiations over tax cuts and government spending continue in the background.

Congressional Defense Activity

  • SASC
    • 12/13 ‘CLOSED: Department of Defense Global Counterterrorism Operations’, Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, SVC-217, 10am
    • 12/13 ‘Update on Research, Diagnosis, and Treatment for Traumatic Brain Injury / Concussion in Servicemembers’, Subcommittee on Personnel, SR-222 Russell, 10am
    • 12/14 ‘U.S. Policy and Strategy in the Middle East’, Full Committee Hearing, SD-G50 Dirksen, 10am
  • HASC – 12/13 ‘Addressing Physiological Episodes in Fighter, Attack, and Training Aircraft’, Full Committee Hearing, 2118 Rayburn, 330pm
  • HAC-D – No hearings this week
  • SAC-D – No hearings this week
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