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FCW : April 30, 2014
Capitol Hill 20 December 2013 FCW.COM 18 April 30, 2014 FCW.COM That holiday spirit didn t last long. Consider the Defense Department, which has struggled with the man- power and weaponry implications of huge spending cuts in recent years as it wound down two wars in Asia and ramped up preparations for other con- icts, including cyberwarfare and ter- rorism threats. When Secretary Chuck Hagel and other top DOD officials presented budget recommendations in March that met the spending levels Congress had decreed, key Republi- cans reacted with fury and essentially told Hagel to start over. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a respected veteran and military expert, sarcastically greeted Hagel at a meeting of the Senate Armed Services Commit- tee by saying that the Pentagon s "tim- ing is exquisite." "The world is probably more unsettled than any time since the end of World War II," McCain contin- ued, in reference to Russia s invasion and subsequent takeover of Crimea. "You ve come here with a budget that constrains us in a way that s unprec- edented" and reduces Army forces to pre-Pearl Harbor levels. McCain ended his attack by walking out of the hear- ing room. In the House, Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) responded to the Pentagon s budget proposal by dismissing DOD s recently unveiled Quadrennial Defense Review as of little value to decision- makers. Contending that it has more to do with politics than policy, he said the review wrongly decided to accept current spending levels rather than "identify the budget needed to address the evolving threat." He ordered DOD to "rewrite and resubmit a compliant report." And it s not just DOD. Although the broader spending con ict has been temporarily set aside, deep-seated problems remain between Congress and the White House on the budget and the governing process. Even with December s budget agreement, most appropriations bills likely won t be set- tled until after the November elections, when Republicans hope to take con- trol of the Senate and thereby increase their leverage. Furthermore, presidential budgets have increasingly become irrelevant. Leaders of both parties dismissed Obama s belated scal 2015 proposal in March as chie y a political document that was dead on arrival. "The presi- dent s proposals have stopped being the place where discussions begin and instead just give Congress something to criticize and reject out of hand," said budget expert Stan Collender. Publicity vs. substance On Capitol Hill, oversight hearings have become partisan hits rather than efforts to offer constructive assistance for agencies or programs. Lawmakers "S S S S S Se e e eq q q q q qu u u u u ue e e e e es s s s sttttttrr r r ra a a a attt t tiii ion req quiii irrrrrr re e e e e e es s s s s s s sc c c c c c c cu u u u u u u utt ttt t ts s s s s s ss s s sod de ee ep p, ,s so oa ab brru up ptt, so quickk kly that we cann nott s sh hrriin nkk tth h h h h he es siize of ou urr m miill l l lii i itt t t ta a a a a a arr r r r ry y y y y yff f f fa a a a as s s stt t t te e e e e en n n n n nough." ---SE ECR C ETARY OF DEFEN NSE SEC CHUCK C CK C HAGEL AP IMAGES
April 15, 2014
May 15, 2014