Viewing posts categorised under: Quick Hits

Quick Hit – July 25, 2018

by Gene Moran in Quick Hits

Appropriations Update: FY19 NDAA clears Conference Committee as House enters its last week in session before summer recess

Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Rep. Mac Thornberry (TX), left, pictured with acting Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee Sen. James Inhofe (OK), right (Source: House Armed Services Committee Republicans)

FY19 NDAA Defense Funding Levels (in billions)

DoD Discretionary Base $616.9
DoE Discretionary Base $21.8
Other Non-Defense $0.3
NDAA Authorized Base Topline $639
Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) $69
NDAA Authorized Topline w/OCO $708.1
Defense-Related Activities Outside NDAA Jurisdiction $8.2
National Defense (050) Topline w/OCO $716.3

FY19 NDAA Resolved Bill Summary

This week, Congress released the full conference report for the reconciled FY19 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) after Congressional negotiators from both chambers reached an agreement on the policy bill earlier Monday. The NDAA aims to effectively implement the 2018 National Defense Strategy by aligning the budget request with the priorities it outlined in the 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS) and through organizational reform. The NDAA also covers innovation in research and engineering, strategic competition and effective deterrence of Chinese and Russian aggression, reinforcement of our alliances, modernization of the Joint Force, and retention of our all-volunteer force. Notably, the bill establishes the first U.S. policy on cyber warfare and establishes a sub-unified command for space under the U.S. Strategic Command. The NDAA  now awaits final approval, and the House is expected to adopt the measure this week before it enters its summer recess. The Senate is likely to follow as early as August, having decided to extend and work through the month.

Many provisions in the compromised bill go directly against the recommendations of Defense Secretary Mattis and the White House, including a temporary ban on transfers of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 to Turkey, the imposition of a government-wide ban on equipment and services from ZTE, Huawei and other Chinese telecommunications companies, and limitations on support to the Saudi campaign in Yemen. However, other provisions of contention with White House policy were dropped, like the removal the National Nuclear Security Administration from direct control of the Energy Department, and a Trump-backed provision regarding Russian sanctions waiver language was included despite pushback from the Senate.

Differences Resolved in the Final Version 

  • Authorization for the Huntington Ingalls’ Ford-class aircraft carrier designated CVN-81, if the Secretary of Defense submits a certification to the congressional defense committees
  • $7.6 billion to procure 77 Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters
  • $1.6 billion to procure a total of 3 Littoral Combat Ships (2 over administration request)
  • $2.4 billion to procure 15 KC-46 aircraft
  • $904 million to procure 5 E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes (1 over administration request)
  • $508 million for 8 Ship to Shore Connectors (3 over administration request)
  • $203.4 million to procure 69 General Dynamics’ Stryker upgrades (66 over administration request)
  • Prohibits the retirement of any E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar (JSTARs) Aircraft, but doesn’t fund the JSTARs recapitalization program
  • Authorizes the National Command Authority to direct U.S. Cyber Command to take appropriate and proportional action through cyberspace to disrupt, defeat, and deter systematic and ongoing attacks by Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran in cyberspace
  • Will not eliminate the Washington Headquarters Services, as specified in House-passed version
  • Requires the development of a Militarily Critical Technologies List to inform technology protection, export control, and research investment decisions

The Bottom Line: With an impending deadline to get passage in the House before recess, conferees were able to come together and compromise on the FY19 NDAA, which is expected to pass before the start of the fiscal year for the first time in over a decade. With $24 billion for shipbuilding and increases in procurement over administration recommendations, Congress has attempted to increase U.S. core capabilities and address 2018 NDS objectives. Following the appropriations process, the next step will be for movement on the FY19 Defense Appropriations Act in both chambers. 

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Quick Hit – June 29, 2018

by Gene Moran in Quick Hits

Appropriations Update: Yesterday, the Senate took a major step in the appropriations process when the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the defense subcommittee FY19 markups (30-1), as the full House passed its version later in the day (359-49). In addition, full Senate passage of the FY19 NDAA (85-10) has paved the path forward for the bill to go to conference.  House leadership named conferees this week.

Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and its Subcommittee on Defense (Source: The Hill)

Current Progress

President’s Budget Base: $617.1 billion OCO: $69 billion Timeline

HASC (NDAA)

Base: $616.7 billion OCO: $69 billion Conference Committee

SASC (NDAA)

Base: $617.6 billion OCO: $68.5 billion Conference Committee
HAC-D Base: $606.5 billion OCO: $68.1 billion Passed in House

Next: Waiting on Senate

SAC-D Base $607.1 billion OCO: $67.9 billion Markup Approved

Next: Introduction to Senate

Senate and House FY19 Defense Appropriations

After approval by the defense subcommittee at the beginning of the week, the Senate Appropriations Committee (SAC) yesterday marked up the FY19 defense appropriations bill, ordering it to be reported favorably, 30-1. The markup appropriates $675 billion to defense for FY19, with a record high $95 billion for research and development. The specific breakdown reflects already released 302(b) allocations: $607.1 billion for base funding and $67.9 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO).

The House version of the FY19 defense appropriations bill, which was also passed on the House floor yesterday afternoon, is similar to the SAC version, though it does contain some key differences that will need to be hammered out during conference in the coming weeks.

Differences 

  • Shipbuilding Procurement Funds: $1b difference ($22.7b from the House; $24b from the Senate)
  • Littoral Combat Ships (LCS): 3 funded by the House, only 2 funded by the Senate
  • F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft: 93 in the HAC version, 89 in the SAC version
  • Exclusive to the Senate Version:
    • Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF), $225m
    • LHA Replacement (Advanced Procurement), $350m
    • LPD-17 (Advanced Procurement), $500m

NDAA Movement

With the passage of the FY19 NDAA in the Senate, the bill can now move to the House-Senate Conference Committee, where differences between the two versions will be addressed so that a final bill can be put forth. House leadership has already named who will serve on the committee, with notable names like Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX), Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT), and Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH). Senate conferees will be named in the coming days.


The Bottom Line: Defense bills are moving unusually fast this year for two reasons: (1) it’s an election year, and (2) there was an agreed topline number in the two-year budget agreement covering FY18-FY19.

Be alert: The current budget agreement does not cover FY20 and beyond, and budget caps associated with sequestration return in FY20. While relief may again emerge post-election, your program managers and program executive officers are working the details of FY20 now. Make sure you aren’t wedged out by an early or uninformed agency decision.

Happy Independence Day to our growing Quick Hit readership!

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Quick Hit – June 13, 2018

by Gene Moran in Quick Hits

Highlights: This week, The HAC convened to consider the FY19 defense appropriations bill, while the FY19 NDAA is being debated on the Senate floor. SAC-D defense appropriations markup is on track for completion in June.

Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) on Wednesday heading into the Senate (Source: Joshua Roberts)

FY19 Defense Appropriations Bill Markup in the House

Earlier today, June 13th, the House Appropriations Committee (HAC) marked the FY19 defense appropriations bill, after the Subcommittee on Defense approved its markup last Thursday, June 7th. The bill was ordered to be reported favorably, 48-4, and includes funding for operations, readiness, equipment modernization, and health and quality-of-life programs for troops and military families. The markup has DOD receiving $674.6 billion to defense for FY19.

The HAC released “tables” late last night to accompany the draft released last week, which includes a breakdown in numbers on the appropriations procurements. 

  • Military Personnel and Pay: $144b ($139.3b base requirements and $4.7b OCO).
  • Operation and Maintenance:  $245.9b ($197.6b base requirements and $48.3b OCO). This includes $1b above the request to fill readiness shortfalls, $1.05b above the request to invest in facility sustainment, restoration, and modernization programs, and $20.6b total for depot maintenance.
  • Research and Development: The bill contains $92.4b ($91.2b base requirements and $1.2b OCO). Specifically, this supports R&D for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter; space security programs; nuclear force modernization; the Ohio-class submarine replacement; Future Vertical Lift; and the Israeli Cooperative Programs. It also supports continuation of the E-8 JSTARS recapitalization program, rejecting the Air Force’s strategy to replace them.
  • Equipment Procurement: $145.7b ($133b base requirements and $12.7b OCO).
    • $22.7b for Shipbuilding and Conversion, Navy, including:
      • Three Littoral Combat Ships (made in two versions by Lockheed Martin and Austal Ltd)
      • Three DDG-51 guided missile destroyers
      • Two Virginia-class submarines
      • Two TAO fleet oilers,
      • One Expeditionary Sea Base,
      • One Towing, Salvage, and, Rescue Ship
      • Continued procurement of the Columbia Class submarine
    • $9.4b for 93 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft (Lockheed Martin)
    • $1.9b for 24 F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft (Boeing)
    • $1.5b for the upgrade of 85 Abrams tanks (General Dynamics)
  • Savings and Cuts: $870m in savings from rescissions of unused prior-year funding. (TAKE NOTE – nearly $1b in unobligated funding from prior year appropriations!)
    • Cuts $115.7m of FY18 funds from Tomahawk program due to mismanagement of the program by the U.S. Navy, according to the report.

NDAA Passage Looming in the Senate; Subcommittee Hearings in SAC-D

The Senate resumed consideration of the FY19 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) earlier today, and is expected to pass the bill as early as this week. Yesterday, a major block to NDAA passage was removed by acting chair Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), who shelved an amendment sponsored by Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) limiting President Trump’s authority to issue tariffs on the basis of national security. According to Inhofe, Corker was blocking consideration of all amendments to the FY19 defense authorization bill until guaranteed a vote on his provision. Even so, other Republicans are still posing more blocks, like Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Mike Lee (R-UT) as they try to secure a vote on a provision prohibiting indefinite detention of U.S. citizens. The White House is also at odds with a bipartisan amendment that would restore penalties on the Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE Corp.

As for the FY19 defense appropriations, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense (SAC-D) is continuing the appropriations process with budget request hearings. Most recently, there was a classified hearing to review defense innovation and research funding, which took place last Wednesday, June 6th. The pace for the process this year has been faster than in previous years, as all markups are expected to be completed by the end of June.


The Bottom Line: Top Line numbers and next steps for FY19 defense spending are as follows

President’s Budget Base: $617.1 billion OCO: $69 billion Timeline

HASC (NDAA)

Base: $616.7 billion OCO: $69 billion Waiting on Senate Vote
Next: Conference Committee

SASC (NDAA)

Base: $617.6 billion OCO: $68.5 billion Floor Action – Debate
Next: Passage (as early as this week)
HAC-D Base: $606.5 billion OCO: $68.1 billion Full Committee Markup
Next: Introduction in House
SAC-D Base $607 billion [302(b) allocation] OCO: $67.9 billion [302(b) allocation] In Subcommittee
Next: Markup (late June)
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Quick Hit – May 30, 2018

by Gene Moran in Quick Hits

Highlights: Congress is on recess this week. Last week the FY19 NDAA passed on the House floor and made progress in the Senate. The FY19 defense appropriations process also continued in both chambers.

House Passage of the NDAA on May 24, 2018.

Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee Senator Reed (D-RI), right, with Senator Inhofe (R-OK), acting chair in Senator McCain’s absence.

NDAA Progress in the House and Senate

The House version of the National Defense Appropriations Act (NDAA), H.R. 5515, passed with a 351-66 vote last Thursday the 24th. That same day, the NDAA also made progress in the Senate, when it was advanced through the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) and ordered to be reported, making it possible to be introduced to the whole Senate. Both versions attempt to address issues of oversight and management, accidents caused by military equipment, proper alignment of resources to meet priorities and demands, and a degrading state of capabilities, reflected in years of continuous war operations and what has been considered a lack of adequate funding.

Funding breakdown in the Senate:

  • $639.2 billion for base DOD and DOE national security programs, $617.6 billion and $21.6 billion respectively
  • $68.5 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO)
  • $8.2 billion for defense related activities outside NDAA jurisdiction
  • Total for FY19 national defense spending $716 billion

Funding breakdown of NDAA in the House:

  • $616.7 billion for base DOD and $22.1 billion for DOE for a total of $638.8 billion
  • $69 billion for OCO and $8.9 billion for mandatory spending
  • Total for FY19 national defense spending $717 billion

Similarities:

  • Aviation: The House and Senate both authorized the purchase of 24 Boeing F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet aircraft.
  • Missile Defense: Both the House and Senate NDAA include provisions for procuring Standard Missile-3 Block IB missiles, effectively awarding a five-year contract worth roughly $1.9 billion to Raytheon for up to 204 of the missile interceptors. The Missile Defense Agency certified that the contract would save $212 million over annual purchases.
  • Nuclear Warheads: In keeping with President Trump’s Nuclear Posture Review, both the House and Senate versions authorize development of low-yield nuclear warheads to be carried on submarine-launched ballistic missiles. Previously prohibited by the fiscal 2004 NDAA, development and production is being backed by $65 million in the Senate version.
  • Tough on China: Both chambers increased pressure on President Trump not to weaken prohibitions on ZTE Corp., a Chinese telecommunications equipment maker accused of violating trade-sanction agreements and considered a threat to U.S. national security. The legislation includes bans on the use of ZTE-made technology by government agencies and prohibits the DOD from renewing contracts with vendors that work with ZTE Corp.

Differences:

  • Aviation: The House NDAA authorized the purchase of 77 Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, which is two more than requested by the SASC. The House also approved the purchase of 12 Boeing Co. KC-46A tanker aircraft, three fewer than requested, while the Senate authorizes 14, only one fewer than requested. Both moves were made “to restore program accountability,” amidst delays that Boeing is experiencing in delivering the tankers.
  • Sea Power: The House NDAA has paved the way for the construction of an additional Ford-class aircraft carrier, CVN-81, to be made by Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc., while the Senate version does not back the purchase. The two versions also differ in requests for Littoral Combat Ships. The Senate NDAA authorizes one ship, the same as the Pentagon’s request, while the House authorized three ships, made in two versions by Lockheed Martin and Austal USA.
  • Cyber: While both versions include provisions that provide funding for cyberspace activities and increasing cybersecurity capabilities, the Senate version addresses Russian cyber attacks, whereas the House version only makes mention of Chinese “malicious cyber activities.” The Senate NDAA specifically authorizes the White House and Secretary of Defense “to direct U.S. Cyber Command to take appropriate and proportional action through cyberspace to disrupt, defeat, and deter systematic and ongoing attacks by Russia in cyberspace.”

The Bottom Line: For all the differences between the two versions, both chambers address aircraft and ship procurement needs as enumerated by the Pentagon, and provide funding to help bolster U.S. capabilities in areas like missile defense and cyber. The breakdown of allocations is only slightly different in both versions, and any discrepancies will eventually be worked out when the bill goes to conference committee as early as late summer.


Appropriations Progress and 302(b) Allocations – How the Funding Breaks Down

Secretary of Defense James Mattis and General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testifying before the Senate Appropriations Committee in May.

The Senate Appropriations Committee (SAC) Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL.) and Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) announced 302(b) Subcommittee allocations for FY19 last Thursday after the first full committee markup. All 12 subcommittee allocations must adhere to the $1.244 trillion discretionary spending cap set earlier this year by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, which includes $647 billion for defense funding, $597 billion for non-defense funding, and $77 billion in funding for OCO. In the Senate, a markup of the Defense Appropriations Act for FY19 is expected the week of June 25-29.
302(b) allocations in the Senate: $607 billion for defense funding, $67.9 billion for OCO. $21.9 billion is also allocated for DOE defense related activities as part of the Energy subcommittee.
The House Appropriations Committee (HAC) also approved their 302(b) allocations in adherence with the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, submitting their report on Wednesday of last week. The 302(b) allocations in the House are $607 billion total.

 

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL).

Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT).

 

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Quick Hit – May 14, 2018

by Gene Moran in Quick Hits

Highlights: Mark up Season is Well Underway. Finding the Loose Change in FY18. 

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX)

House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee Chairman Robert Wittman (R-VA)

Appropriations Process and NDAA Movement

The appropriations process is underway with multiple House appropriations subcommittees marking their versions of FY19 spending bills.  While the House defense subcommittee has yet to mark, it will likely vote out of subcommittee and full committee by the end of May. The Senate appropriations defense subcommittee will mark its version of the defense appropriation during the last week of June.
On May 9-10, the House Armed Services Committee passed the FY19 defense authorization bill (the NDAA) by a 60-1 vote.
The $717 billion defense policy bill now moves to a full House vote in the coming weeks, and the Senate Armed Services Committee is scheduled to adopt its own draft of the defense policy legislation next week. 

What is in the NDAA Bill:

  • Troops: The bill approves nearly 16,000 additional active-duty troops across the military and implement a 2.6 percent pay raise.
  • Aviation: The bill provides $39 billion for aviation upgrades and more than $25 billion for equipment maintenance. It also authorizes the purchase of 77 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, though there is an amendment that would allow the Defense Department to buy an unspecified number of additional F-35s if it can find savings.
  • Sea Power: Big additions for the Pentagon’s budget dealt with ships. Construction of a fourth Ford-class aircraft carrier was accelerated, and lawmakers provided funding for long-lead time materials for two additional Virginia-class submarines to be built in 2022 and 2023. The bill also authorized two additional Littoral Combat Ships.
  • Nuclear: In line with the Trump administration’s desire for a Nuclear Posture Review, the bill authorizes $65 million for developing and producing a low-yield nuclear warhead.

Points of Opposition in HASC:

  • “Fourth Estate” Cuts: House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry’s effort to cut more than $25 billion dollars by 2021 was met with bipartisan opposition. He walked back his attempt to reduce Pentagon bureaucracy by eliminating 7 of the 28 non-military management agencies in the Fourth Estate, giving more deference to the Pentagon on providing solutions to cut costs. Furthermore, an attempt to preserve the Defense Information Systems Agency was defeated along party lines, but an amendment to protect the Test Resource Management Center was approved.
  • Checks on Trump: Many attempted amendments dealing with Trump Administration decisions did not make it into the final cut, including limits on Trump’s planned Veterans Day military parade to only ceremonial units and equipment, limits on the role of National Guard troops ordered to the U.S.-Mexico border by Trump, and prevention Department of Defense funds from going to building a border wall. In addition, an amendment that would have slowed down the groundwork for a space force was also defeated, after Trump suggested he would be in favor of creating a sixth military branch dedicated to space

The Bottom Line: Defense authorizations are on a fast track, setting the pace and laying the framework of the FY19 national security budget. As a historical point, final defense authorization bill passage hasn’t happened before the start of the new fiscal year since 2009. Could this be the year?

FY18 Update:

The race is on to find the loose change in FY18 spending.  Many agencies are simply not able to obligate all of their FY18 funding as originally planned; late arrival of FY18 funds has forced agencies to request permission from Congress to move funds (if greater than $10 million), or “sweep up” unobligated funds before year end so they might be applied to programs and projects deemed “ready now.” Are you waiting on FY18 funds? If so, you should be in position to clearly understand the spend plan of your program office for the coming months. We can help if you are not sure how to ask the right questions that will assure contract funding.

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Quick Hit – March 24, 2018

by Gene Moran in Quick Hits

What Happened?

On Thursday afternoon, the House passed a 1.3 trillion dollar omnibus spending package to avoid a third government shutdown this year, which would have occurred after the expiration of the continuing resolution passed earlier in February. Just after midnight Friday, the spending bill also passed in the Senate despite initial misgivings from Senator Rand Paul. Friday afternoon, President Trump signed the spending package, which includes all 12 appropriations bills and conforms to new spending caps set by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 that was passed last month. Trump had earlier threatened he would veto the bill due to a lack of funding for his cornerstone border wall with Mexico, and a dismissal of addressing or extending protections for DACA recipients. However, after a phone call with Secretary Mattis, he praised the increase in defense spending, funding the government through September.

What is included in the omnibus spending bill?

  • Homeland Security: At the center of the spending package is a “strong military and secure border,” according to the White House, and indeed this bill provides $6 billion for a border wall with Mexico and related border security technologies, as well as boosts the Department of Homeland Security’s budget by $6.3 trillion.
  • National Defense: The bill increases military spending and provides $654.6 billion for the Pentagon — $700 billion including OCO funding. It specifically increases funding for procurement across the services, provides a pay raise to military personnel, and increases research and development funding.
  • Rebuilding Infrastructure and Combating the Opioid Crisis: The bill provides funding for new Infrastructure projects, specifically $650 billion for Amtrak’s Gateway project, which aims to bolster railway infrastructure between New York and New Jersey, and provides $4 billion across different agencies to deal with the opioid epidemic.
  • Gun Measures and School Safety: Included in the spending package are measures meant to strengthen gun sale background checks and more that $2 billion for new funding to improve school safety.

The Bottom Line: The federal government is funded through September. Of note, there are some allowances for DoD to spend portions of the funds beyond the end of the fiscal year in recognition of the challenge to obligate and spend the funds fully half way through FY 2018. Look for FY18 funds to be flowing into program offices no later than early June.

 

 

U.S. President Donald Trump gestures towards Congress’ $1.3 trillion spending bill, during a signing ceremony, in the Diplomatic Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., March 23, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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Quick Hit – March 12, 2018

by Gene Moran in Quick Hits

Highlights

Busy weeks on Capitol Hill this month. Over the past two weeks I personally observed appropriations staffs moving about their counterpart’s offices working diligently toward completing conference of the FY18 omnibus appropriation.  Their stated goal was to be complete well before the March 23rd deadline (when CR number five expires). Chairman Frelinghuysen (House Appropriations) put the heat on subcommittee chairmen to exercise their authority, make decisions and get the bill ready for vote. Look for the House to vote on the bill this week, leaving several days of cushion to allow for any Senate fireworks.  Fingers crossed, a bill will make it to President Trump for signature no later than March 23rd.

Spending Timelines

DoD in particular appears to have successfully made the case that spending a year’s worth of funding in the remaining six months of a fiscal year causes poor decisions and behaviors.  Look for some relief in the form of language allowing some flexibility in how long DoD has to spend various “flavors” of funds: O&M, RDT&E, and Procurement, for example.  Congressional appropriators are notoriously tight with the leash in granting flexibility that impinges on their oversight prerogatives. Any relief will be a breakthrough of sorts.

There are plenty of indications that despite said Congressional relief in timing of FY18 spending, DoD will still end the fiscal year with billions that are not able to be obligated.  What this means  is that there will be multiple opportunities to reprogram funds late in FY18.  Staying close to your PEO and PM with ready solutions that have an available contract vehicle could serve you well. You cannot over-communicate with your PM this year.

Change of Office

Senator Shelby (R-AL) appears well-positioned to assume the Chairmanship of both the Full Senate Appropriations Committee and the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee upon the April 1st retirement of Senator Cochran (R-MS). No Senators have spoken publicly of any other challenger to these key Chairmanships.

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Quick Hit – February 9, 2018

by Gene Moran in Quick Hits

The Bottom Line

After a brief shutdown that occurred over night and lasted less than six hours, the Senate approved yet another stopgap funding bill early this morning with a 71-28 vote, followed by a House vote of 240-186 to send the agreement to the president’s desk. The new stopgap bill will keep federal agencies and the military running until March 23rd. While this new legislation includes the framework for a longer budget agreement born out of the Senate on Wednesday, it is important to note that this is not a full appropriation. According to appropriations staffers, the House and the Senate will use this newly extended deadline to finally parse togetherFY18 defense appropriations. President Trump signed the bill first thing this morning.

What is Included in the Two-Year Budget Agreement?

Here is a snapshot of what is included in the two-year budget framework attached to the CR:
  • Increase in spending by $300B over the next two years (around $165B to the Pentagon and $131B to non-defense domestic spending)
  • This year: increase in defense spending by $80B and domestic spending by $63B in excess of the 2011 budget caps
  • Next year: increase in defense spending by $85B and domestic spending by $68B in excess of the budget caps
  • Raises the debt ceiling until March 2019, after mid-term elections
  • Will add around $1.5 trillion to the budget deficit over the next 10 years
  • $90B in disaster relief funds for US states ravaged by hurricanes and wildfires

Based on an appropriation being agreed in March, expect funds to flow to agencies in June.  Billions of dollars will likely go unobligated as they are being received so late in the year again.

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Quick Hit – January 23, 2018

by Gene Moran in Quick Hits

What It Means

Shutdown politics produced no “winners” this weekend.  Perhaps C-SPAN’s audience ticked up a few notches than it otherwise might have as Congressional staffs followed the hype. The “losers” will prove to be Congressional incumbents of both parties as we approach 2018 mid-term primaries and elections. Most Americans outside of the beltway establishment are simply not following the nuances of the arguments being made – they don’t have the time and Washington fatigue is taking its toll. It all blurs together.

What Happened?

Before the shutdown, Congress was addressing a continuing resolution that was set to expire 19 January.  By that time, Congress was expected to have topline budget numbers for at least 2018 and possibly 2019 laid out.  Immigration debate, championed by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (pictured above), overshadowed the more pressing need to establish parameters of government funding and pass an appropriation.  It appeared that a few more weeks of debate until 16 February might allow a sufficient window to agree on both funding and immigration issues.

The shutdown outcome produced a continuing resolution that funds the government through 8 February and a promise to bring immigration legislation to the Senate floor by 9 February if an immigration agreement has not otherwise been forged.

What Does This Mean For You?

Each sequential continuing resolution puts real pressure on the mid-term elections. That should translate to a real desire to get an appropriation for 2018 done. Your government customer is likely shrugging their shoulders, unable to know when the funds will start to flow.
IF we see an appropriation completed by mid-February, it is likely that 2018 funds will be available to your customer by the end of May.
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Quick Hit – January 12, 2018

by Gene Moran in Quick Hits

A fifth Continuing Resolution is in the offing. Look for the prospect of an FY18 omnibus appropriation to now move into February.

Funding negotiations among House and Senate Leaders and the President continue to look dreary.  The Continuing Resolution under which the government presently operates will expire 19 January. We’ve reached the point in the timeline where a bill could not be produced for vote and publication by the 19th even if we had a miraculous agreement to terms today.

What Has Happened?

What appeared to be a path to a two-year agreement has unraveled. Finding the balance between non-defense and defense spending continues to elude this Congress.  While still unlikely, whether or not a shutdown occurs will largely depend on how firm defense hawks stand in their insistence on immediate funding for defense. Many went along with the current CR vote in December as negotiations looked positive and a break over the holidays was palatable.  Now, in the new year with mid-term primaries and elections in clear view, many rank and file Members and Senators feel the pressure to insist we get this resolved and not kick the can for the fifth time.

Outlook for Elections

In this election year, it would further appear that party support for Speaker Ryan is not assured.  Frustration is widespread, and we once again find ourselves conducting cliffhanger negotiations behind closed doors at the very top of the food chain. With every Member of the House up for re-election in 2018, look for each to make their own assessment of how closely aligned to the Speaker they can be while still surviving with their constituents. Even with a “victory” under their belts in the recent tax reform legislation, the ability of House Republicans to retain their majority is very much in question. This week alone, two more long-term incumbents announced their intent to not seek re-election, bringing the total number of open seats for Republicans to 32. Democrats, in contrast, are facing 15 open seats.

Bottom line for now: another short-term Continuing Resolution next week.
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