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senate Bill S. 1356

Authorizing Military Funding Levels for 2016

Argument in favor

National defense is the federal government’s primary responsibility, and increasing funding from the previous fiscal year recognizes increased demands on our military in a dangerous world.

operaman's Opinion
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11/05/2015
I would like to think that this would be a good idea. But there needs to be much oversight in additional spending.
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SherryTX's Opinion
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11/06/2015
While I believe that the military needs to be more fiscally responsible and that they shouldn't be forced to acquire things they don't want because a senator or representative wants the money from the manufacturing of it to go to his/her district, I'm not inclined to not fund our military.
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BTSundra's Opinion
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11/09/2015
The primary job of the president and government is to ensure that we have a safe nation, and authorizing this ensures that.
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Argument opposed

Defense spending is one of the most bloated parts of our government. This plan gives money to programs that the military doesn't want, some of which should be cut altogether.

BernieSanders's Opinion
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11/16/2015
"[There is too much] waste and fraud in the military budget." [sanders.senate.gov]
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DonaldTrump's Opinion
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11/16/2015
"I'm gonna build a military that's gonna be much stronger than it is right now. It's gonna be so strong, nobody's gonna mess with us. But you know what? We can do it for a lot less." [dailymail.co.uk]
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ElizabethWarren's Opinion
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11/16/2015
"we can make cuts in our defense budget - smart, targeted cuts that preserve our national security." [elizabethwarren.com]
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What is Senate Bill S. 1356?

Update November 4, 2015: This bill was co-opted by the House after the Senate had passed it, and was amended from delaying a rule affecting pay for border patrol agents to serving as the legislative vehicle for the National Defense Authorization Act of 2016.

This bill would authorize appropriations for national defense spending for fiscal year 2016. As an authorization, not an appropriation, this bill does not give defense agencies the power to spend — but it does lay down the foundation for future bills that will give the government real money to spend.  

The goal of this bill is authorize a total of $611.8 billion for defense spending with:

The bill matches the Obama administration's requests for defense spending, but ignores many of the President's proposals.  

The biggest rejections come in the form of funding for aircraft. The House Armed Services Committee rejected the Pentagon's request to retire an A-10 attack jet aircraft. Instead, the Thunderbolt II — commonly known as the “Warthog” — would have its funding restored ($682.7 million). The Navy would also receive 12 additional F/A 18 Super Hornets, and the Marine Corps would get 6 more F-35B Joint-Strike Fighters. These are additional aircraft than were requested for a total of $2.15 billion between the two programs. 

Other requests from that Pentagon that were ignored: The authorization to close some military bases to cut funding have been rejected. A 2.3 percent pay raise for troops (instead of the Pentagon's requested 1 percent) have been slotted into this bill. 

This authorization would also make major changes to how the military retirement system functions, starting in 2018. One such change would be how the Dept. of Defense matches contributions for military members to the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). The new matching would (the DOD hopes) encourage service members to contribute more to the TSP — reducing their taxable income. 

Other areas that would have increased funding from the President's plan include:

  • Service-members’ housing allowance, 
  • Missile defense cooperation with Israel,
  • Upgrades to the H-60 Blackhawk, the Stryker vehicle, and the C-130,
  • Increased logistical operations to meet readiness objectives. 
The Tomahawk missile program would also have its funding restored, despite attempts to end the program. This bill also funds the accelerated development of a new U.S. rocket propulsion system to be used for space exploration.

Impact

Everyone who benefits from U.S. national security — including average citizens; members of the U.S. military; federal agencies that receive funding through this legislation, particularly the Department of Defense.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 1356

$1.10 Trillion
The CBO estimates that this bill would authorize about $1.1 trillion in spending over the 2016-2025 period.

More Information

In-Depth: This bill was co-opted and used as a legislative vehicle for the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) following the President's veto of an earlier version of the NDAA. Rather than attempt to override that veto, that legislation was transferred to this particular bill to allow the NDAA a fresh opportunity to pass as its predecessors have for more than 50 consecutive years.

This process began when the House Armed Services Committee passed this bill on a bipartisan 60-2 vote. The committee's proposal matched the President’s request of $611.9 billion annually, and there are still $7.7 billion in authorizations outside of the Committee’s jurisdiction. While the President and the House agreed on an overall funding level, President Obama vetoed this legislation (which he had threatened to do for the past six years) as Congress didn't comply with his request to raise discretionary spending caps for domestic programs while boosting military spending. Once a budget agreement was reached, and Congress agreed to remove $5 billion from the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) portion of the NDAA, a deal was reached.

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 authorized $600 billion in spending. While it first passed the House on a 325-98 vote in May 2014, the House and Senate could not agree on a final version until December 2014. That's all to say these lags are nothing new. In the end, the final version of the FY 2015 NDAA authorized $585 billion in total spending, $521.3 billion of which was discretionary spending, with $63.7 billion set aside for Overseas Contingency Operations.

Major critiques of the bill generally focus on less than transparent funding, which helped lead to the President's veto of its earlier version. The National Priorities Project explains: 

"Congress is ignoring its own budget caps by pouring money into a Pentagon slush fund with little oversight or accountability. The current proposal [allots] about $90 billion in off-the-books spending through the use of the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) Fund – the war fund for Iraq and Afghanistan that has since become a catch-all slush fund for any Pentagon expenses that don’t fit within the caps imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act. The OCO slush fund isn’t subject to budget caps, but that doesn’t stop it from contributing to the nation’s deficit."

On the other side, Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) noted on the passage of this bill through committee: 

“This year’s NDAA will begin a process of much needed reform to the Department of Defense. These reforms are designed to recruit and retain America’s best and brightest, ensure that our forces maintain their technological edge, and to balance resources from the ‘tail’ to the ‘tooth’ of the force."

On the other side, Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) noted on the passage of this bill through committee: 

“This year’s NDAA will begin a process of much needed reform to the Department of Defense. These reforms are designed to recruit and retain America’s best and brightest, ensure that our forces maintain their technological edge, and to balance resources from the ‘tail’ to the ‘tooth’ of the force."

Other provisions of the bill include: 

Roughly $4 billion in savings would be gained from using un-obligated funds and eliminating a foreign currency fluctuation account that stored excess funds. No longer paying an excessive base price for fuel is projected to save $1.6 billion.

A development project for a long-range strike bomber would receive $460 million less in fiscal year 2016, most of which it would’ve been unable to spend in that period due to contract delays. The program that funds the Air Force’s tanker would be funded at a level $224 million lower than anticipated, which is the maximum level the Air Force can actually spend in fiscal year. Because the A-10 Warthog would still be operational under this legislation, $79.6 million in training expenses would be saved by delaying the Air Force’s transition from the A-10 to the F-15E.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: Flickr user Massachusetts National Guard)

AKA

National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016

Official Title

An act to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2016 for military activities of the Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe military personnel strengths for such fiscal year, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • EnactedNovember 25th, 2015
    The President signed this bill into law
  • The house Passed November 5th, 2015
    Roll Call Vote 370 Yea / 58 Nay
  • The senate Passed May 14th, 2015
    Passed by Voice Vote
      senate Committees
      Strategic Forces Subcommittee
      Readiness and Management Support Subcommittee
      SeaPower Subcommittee
      Airland Subcommittee
      Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee
      Committee on Armed Services
    IntroducedMay 14th, 2015

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    I would like to think that this would be a good idea. But there needs to be much oversight in additional spending.
    Like (7)
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    "[There is too much] waste and fraud in the military budget." [sanders.senate.gov]
    Like (60)
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    "I'm gonna build a military that's gonna be much stronger than it is right now. It's gonna be so strong, nobody's gonna mess with us. But you know what? We can do it for a lot less." [dailymail.co.uk]
    Like (44)
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    "we can make cuts in our defense budget - smart, targeted cuts that preserve our national security." [elizabethwarren.com]
    Like (18)
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    "Woefully short." [usatoday.com]
    Like (16)
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    Stop adding shit our military has plainly said it does not need or want. Perhaps audit the entire defense dept. Account for all monies before they get more. Cancel the f-35 nightmare or stop paying for it till the manufactures deliver on their promises.
    Like (16)
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    According to congress now the cost of living did not go up. So folks on SSA get no raise. If that is the case then the Defense Department should not need an increase either. The price of fuel went down. Also maybe with less troops why do they need more money? I vote no, but we will see how Congress does.
    Like (9)
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    "We must continue to adapt our military’s force structure and spending to meet today’s threats." [time.com]
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    There are areas of the military that don't need this extra funding that is being provided under this military budget. We need to decrease the military funds, without hurting the people sacrificing their lives, and give more benefits to veterans that are struggling to get effective healthcare and other benefits to have a normal standard of living.
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    While I believe that the military needs to be more fiscally responsible and that they shouldn't be forced to acquire things they don't want because a senator or representative wants the money from the manufacturing of it to go to his/her district, I'm not inclined to not fund our military.
    Like (3)
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    It's a problem if the military is actually telling you to cut back, only for you to increase. Who has the more experience in this matter, the Military? Or the Politicians?
    Like (2)
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    This cuts the pensions of military retiress!!! CUT CONGRESS'S Pension, not our military!
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    Cut military spending.
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    The primary job of the president and government is to ensure that we have a safe nation, and authorizing this ensures that.
    Like (2)
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    To much spending in defense sector instead of education. That to me is entirely to much money we spend on our military
    Like (2)
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    Absolutely!! This administration has tried to hurt our defense capabilities from day 1. Like the slogan, "leading from behind", their efforts to "strengthen" America through the power of words has been an utter and complete failure. Our enemies no longer fear us. We must restore the PEACE THROUGH STRENGTH paradigm or there will be dire consequences.
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    Military is saddled with pet projects of Congress. Eliminate porkbarrel programs, then see how much pentagon needs.
    Like (1)
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    I agree that it is bloated. I also agree that a lot of programs should be cut. The bottom line is let the Military know what then can spend. At the same time the congress should do there job of over site and do the cuts. We have all these sub-committes protecting there own special interest and not the people's.
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    No piecemeal budgets resolutions. Pass a budget
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    Yes Yes Yes!! Dear Leader has decimated the military for the past 7 years. He has removed approximately 20 general officers, (google it) replacing them with politically correct drones, many without combat experience. Particularly noteworthy was his immediately removing three general officers after the Benghazi disaster, www.thegatewaypundit.com What difference does it make???
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