Wednesday, November 23, 2011

10/21/11 RD Bulletin: CBO Scoring Draft Super Committee Proposals

ed. Ethan R. Rosenkranz

State of Play

Legislative: Speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations, CBO Director Elmendorf said the Super Committee is “clearly engaged very seriously in discussions about what policy changes might be made.”  CQ Today reports that some Republicans and Democrats on the Super Committee have been working together on bipartisan recommendations, and that CBO has been providing members of the Super Committee with savings estimates on different draft proposals.  Elmendorf is scheduled to appear again before the Super Committee on Wednesday of next week.  The Senate is currently slogging through a mini-omnibus appropriations measure, but it has now become clear that another Continuing Resolution will be needed to keep the government funded past November 18.  Representative J. Randy Forbes (R-VA) has introduced a resolution (H.Res. 441) arguing that further defense reductions would “cause significant harm to U.S. interests.” 

Executive: Yesterday, OMB Director Lew warned that the President would veto any spending bill that undermines “national security through funding levels or restrictions.”  Following Muammar Gaddafi’s death, President Obama announced that the NATO mission in Libya “will soon come to an end.”  In fact, NATO leaders are meeting today to discuss the conclusion of the Libya mission.  Sec. of State Clinton, Gen. Dempsey, and CIA Director Petraeus are in Pakistan where discussions are expected to focus on repairing the fractured alliance between the two countries.  Inside Defense reports that the Navy is planning on purchasing an additional 10-15 Virginia-class submarines instead of fielding a replacement in the early 2020s.    


DoD Buzz:
Report: DoD Cuts Could Total Around $550M
Politico’s Mike Allen is reporting on the prospects of a Super Committee “grand bargain” that would reach the mandated target of $1.2 trillion in savings, including $100 billion in defense cuts.  (10/21/11)

The Will and the Wallet: Alternatives to the Sequester Process
Matthew Leatherman argues that a steady, incremental reduction in DoD base funding over the next decade may be a better option than automatic sequestration cuts.  (10/19/11)

Stars and Stripes: Senators Want Commission to Consider Overseas Base Closings
Sens. Tester (D-MT) and Hutchison (R-TX) wrote the Super Committee urging it to consider cutting future military construction projects.  The two have also introduced legislation (S. 1733) that would create a commission to study the necessity of current overseas bases.  (10/19/11)

Other News and Commentary

AOL Defense:
Don’t Rush to Cut Ground Forces
The principal author of a new CSIS report on ground force capabilities argues against cutting Marine Corps and Army end strength.  (10/21/11)

National Defense: Air Force Focuses on Turning ‘Tail to Tooth’ in Face of Budget Crunch
Air Force Secretary Donley says the service has already shifted $33 billion “from support tail to war fighting tooth.”  (10/20/11)

The Will and the Wallet: Walks Like a Duck, Talks Like a Duck
J.D. Mateus questions why appropriators transferred funding for a troubled weapons system from DoD’s base budget into the OCO account.   (10/20/11)

Navy Times: Defense Supporters Make Case for No More Cuts
A McKeon aide is quoted as saying, “our effort is aimed at convincing everyone, especially the Super Committee, that defense has already been cut.”  (10/19/11) 

The Hill: Sen. McCaskill Crafting Legislation to Crack Down on Waste in War Zones
Following a recent report that found between $31-60 billion spent on wartime contracting has been lost to fraud and abuse, Sen. McCaskill is introducing legislation aimed at cracking down on wartime contracting waste.  (10/19/11)

Government Executive:
Military Health and Retirement Benefits Take a Hit in Lawmakers’ Proposals
In their submissions to the Super Committee last week, SASC Chairman Levin and Ranking Member McCain both supported the President’s recent proposal to address military retirement and health care costs.  (10/19/11)

Reports and Publications

Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics: Report to Congress on Contracting Fraud (October, 2011)

Events and Hearings

10/27/11 National Priorities Project and the Coalition on Human Needs Webinar: Deficits, Domestic Programs, and Pentagon Spending
At 3:00 pm on October 27, NPP and the Coalition on Human Needs will host a webinar on Pentagon budget basics and the need to cut defense spending.