opportunity to debate the measure
— whether they agree with its provisions or not.
“The place to debate these policies is on the floor of the Senate,”
Before his floor argument with
McCain, Levin acknowledged opposition to the unanimous consent
agreement, but said he is “very hopeful” the Senate will complete work
on the bill by the end of this month.
But Levin said he is concerned
about the tight floor schedule
awaiting senators when they
return. The authorization bill usually consumes more than a week of
debate, and with controversial provisions attached to it, it likely will
take considerable time.
“Until this bill is passed, I am
concerned. But we’ve never not
passed the defense bill,” Levin said.
“It’s hard to believe in the middle of
two wars that we’re not going to
take up the defense bill. I can’t
believe it and I won’t believe it until
I see it. And I hope I don’t see it.”
If the Senate does approve its
version of the authorization bill
this month, it still must be recon-
ciled with the House-passed meas-
ure — a process that usually takes
several weeks. But staff can negoti-
ate many of the differences while
lawmakers are out of town, setting
it up for consideration during the
brief lame-duck session that will
follow the midterm elections.
Meanwhile, the defense appropriations bill, which allocates
funding to authorized programs,
has not seen floor time in either
the House or the Senate.
The House Appropriations defense subcommittee marked up the
bill behind closed doors in late July,
but the full committee has yet to
have its crack at it. The subcommittee’s measure comes to $681.8 billion, including $157.7 billion to
cover operations in Iraq and Afghanistan next year. The total is $7
billion below the Pentagon’s request
“Virginia is more vulnerable to this kind of policy shift than
any other state. Defense spending was our strength during
the downturn. It kept unemployment lower here than in most
other states. It kept the economy from crashing as far as
other states. It’s also our Achilles’ heel.”
Director of the Center of Regional Analysis at George Mason University, Fairfax, Va.
On the potential impact of Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates’ proposal to close U.S.
Joint Forces Command and restrict military contracting as part of a series of Defense
Department cost-shifting moves.
The Washington Post, Aug. 10
“This closure and the loss of 5,000 jobs is just not acceptable, particularly in light of the economy overall, the economic downturn and then, on the heels of Katrina, the oil spill
and the (federal drilling) moratorium. We just can’t absorb
this loss at this time.”
Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La.
On Northrop Grumman’s plan to close Louisiana’s Avondale Shipyard in 2013.
New Orleans Times-Picayune, July 28
and does not include military construction funding, which is covered
by another bill.
The Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee had planned to
consider the bill before the August
recess, but ultimately punted it to
The fact that neither chamber
has acted on the appropriations
measure makes it highly likely that
the Defense Department will be
funded under a continuing resolution — at this year’s level of $625.3
billion — once the new fiscal year
begins Oct. 1.
Funding the military under a
continuing resolution causes some
complications within the Pentagon,
including funding at a lower level
than officials anticipated and
stalling new starts of contracts.
Appropriators, however, could
return after the elections to approve
the defense spending bill, which
includes war funding, before adjourning for the year.
House Appropriators Put
Second F- 35 Engine in Bill
While the House Appropriations defense subcommittee has yet to release
its version of the fiscal 2011 defense
spending measure, the panel has
revealed the bill includes $450 million for a second engine program for
the F- 35 Lightning II strike fighter,
despite objections from subcommittee Chairman Norm Dicks, D-Wash.,
and the White House.
The administration has requested
$681.8 billion for defense in 2011,
which includes $157 billion for the
wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The White House has threatened
to veto any measure that continues
the unwanted alternate engine,
which administration officials have
said is too costly and unnecessary.
But supporters of the second
engine, which is built by General
Electric’s GE Aviation, Evandale,
Ohio, and Rolls-Royce Group,
whose North American headquarters are in Reston, Va., have argued
SEAPOWER / SEPTEMBER 2010