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DLM ALERT – Appropriations Chairwoman Mikulski Statement Supporting Budget Agreement

For Immediate Release

CHAIRWOMAN MIKULSKI’S STATEMENT ON BIPARTISAN BUDGET AGREEMENT

 

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, released the following statement in support of the bipartisan budget agreement reached today by Budget Committee Chairmen Patty Murray and Paul Ryan:

“This bipartisan budget agreement has my support. It helps create certainty for America’s families and businesses by preventing another government shutdown and averting sequester for two years. I hope it marks an end to the shutdown, slowdown, slamdown politics that have damaged our economy and families. Delay is no way to run a nation.  I commend Budget Committee Chairmen Murray and Ryan for their hard work to reach this bipartisan agreement.

“The Murray-Ryan budget agreement, first and foremost, prevents harm to American families, seniors, children and veterans. It protects seniors and families by preserving the social safety net of Medicare and Social Security.

“Second, it puts middle class families first by ending this lurching from crisis to crisis so we can make smart choices about investments in America’s future. That means creating jobs today with investments in infrastructure like roads, bridges and clean water. And creating jobs for tomorrow with investments in research and discovery that lead to life-saving cures and new ideas that lead to new products and new jobs.

“This bipartisan agreement means we can meet national security needs while meeting compelling human needs like education, health, and housing.

“As Chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee, I support this agreement because it avoids sequester for two years. This means we can fund the operations of government through regular, annual appropriations bills, instead of through last minute, stop-gap bills that put the government on autopilot. It also means creating certainty that’s crucial to the stability of our economy and our standing and reputation in the world.

“We’ve taken a step forward in rebuilding trust among ourselves and with the American people. I look forward to continue building that trust by working across the dome and across the aisle to produce a bipartisan, fiscally responsible appropriations bill that makes smart choices for the American people.

“Though I support this agreement, it’s a compromise and it’s not perfect. I’m deeply disappointed it requires some federal employees to pay more for their retirement. For too long, federal employees have been scapegoats of deficit reduction. I would have preferred for negotiators to find savings by closing tax loopholes and cancelling outdated dust bowl era farm subsidies.

“But because of this agreement, federal employees can get their cost-of-living increase and they will no longer face the uncertainties of furloughs and pay cuts. And I’m so relieved the agreement rejects the draconian proposal to make federal employees pay 5.5 percent more for their retirement.

“I’m on the side of federal employees. I fought hard to make sure federal employees can get their first their cost-of-living increase in four years.  They can count on me to keep fighting for them.”

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DLM IN DEPTH – BUDGET AGREEMENT SUMMARY

Summary of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013

December 10, 2013

BUDGET ENFORCEMENT

The budget proposal authorizes an increase in discretionary spending for fiscal year 2014 and fiscal year 2015. The revisions for defense discretionary and non-defense discretionary spending are shown in Table 1. Table 1. Caps on Discretionary Budget Authority
Defense Discretionary Spending Non-Defense Discretionary Spending
2014 2015 2014 2015
Current Law $498,082,000,000 $512,046,000,000 $469,391,000,000 $483,130,000,000
Proposed Cap $520,464,000,000 $521,372,000,000 $491,773,000,000 $492,456,000,000

The budget proposal saves $28 billion over ten years by requiring the President to sequester the same percentage of mandatory budgetary resources in 2022 and 2023 as will be sequestered in 2021 under current law.

PREVENTION OF WASTE, FRAUD, AND ABUSE

Improving the collection of unemployment insurance overpayments

This provision expands the use of the Treasury Offset Program (TOP) to all states so they can recover certain unemployment-insurance (UI) debts, such as overpayments because of fraud or failure to report earnings.

Strengthening Medicaid third-party liability

This provision reinforces Medicaid’s standing as the payer of last resort by letting states delay paying for certain claims—to the extent that it doesn’t harm the beneficiary’s access to care—to ensure payment. It allows states to collect medical child support in cases where health insurance is available from a non-custodial parent. And it lets Medicaid recuperate costs from beneficiary-liability settlements.

Restriction on access to the Death Master File

This provision creates a program under which the Secretary of Commerce restricts access to information contained on the Death Master File (a list of deceased individuals and their Social Security numbers, dates of birth, and dates of death, maintained by the Social Security Administration) for a three-year period beginning on the date of an individual’s death—except to persons who are certified under the program to access such information sooner. A penalty of $1,000 is imposed for each improper disclosure or misuse of information obtained from the DMF, up to a maximum of $250,000 per person per calendar year. The Secretary is required to establish and collect user fees sufficient to recover all costs associated with the certification program.

Identification of inmates requesting or receiving improper payments

This provision gives Treasury the legal authority to obtain Prisoner Update Processing System (PUPS) data and make it available for those programs in which prisoners are ineligible for benefits.

NATURAL RESOURCES

Ultra-deepwater and unconventional natural gas and other petroleum resources

This provision repeals the Ultra-Deepwater and Unconventional Natural Gas and Other Petroleum Resources Research Program—a research and development program created in 2005—and rescinds the program’s remaining funds.

Amendment to the Mineral Leasing Act

This provision makes permanent a requirement that states receiving mineral revenue payments help defray the costs of managing the mineral leases that generate the revenue. It saves $415 million over ten years.

Approval of agreement with Mexico and Amendment to the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act

This provision approves the U.S.–Mexico Transboundary Agreement, which will set up a framework to explore, develop, and share revenue from hydrocarbon resources that lie in waters beyond each country’s exclusive economic zones. Another provision gives the Secretary of Interior the authority to implement the U.S.–Mexico agreement and any future transboundary hydrocarbon reservoir agreements entered into by the President and approved by Congress.

Federal oil and gas royalty prepayment cap

This provision limits the amount of interest payable to lessees on royalty overpayments to up to 110 percent of the amount due.

Strategic Petroleum Reserve

This provision rescinds all available funds in the “SPR Petroleum Account.” This provision permanently repeals the Strategic Petroleum Reserve’s authority to accept oil from Interior’s royalty-in-kind program.

FEDERAL CIVILIAN AND MILITARY RETIREMENT

Federal Employees’ Retirement System

These sections increase federal-employee contributions to their retirement programs by 1.3 percentage points. The proposal affects new employees in the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) hired after January 1, 2014 with less than five years of service.

Annual adjustment of retired pay and retainer pay amounts for retired members of the Armed Forces under age 62

This provision modifies the annual cost-of-living adjustment for working-age military retirees by making the adjustments equal to inflation minus one percent. This change would be gradually phased in, with no change for the current year, a 0.25 percent decrease in December 2014, and a 0.5 percent decrease in December 2015. This would not affect service members who retired because of disability or injury. Service members would never see a reduction in benefits from one year to the next.

HIGHER EDUCATION

Default Reduction Program

This provision reduces the compensation guaranty agencies receive for rehabilitating a loan from the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program, beginning July 1, 2014.

Elimination of nonprofit servicing contracts

This provision eliminates the mandatory spending for payments to non-profit student-loan servicers, and instead ensures they will be paid with discretionary funds in the same manner as other student-loan servicers.

TRANSPORATION

Aviation security service fees

This provision increases Transportation Security Administration (TSA) fees and simplifies how the fees are assessed.

Transportation cost reimbursement

Under current law, the Maritime Administration must reimburse other federal agencies for the extra costs associated with shipping food aid on U.S. ships. This proposal repeals that requirement.

Sterile areas at airports

This provision requires TSA to continue monitoring exits from the sterile area at the 155 airports that currently receive this service. The section has no effect on approximately two-thirds of airports.

MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

Extension of customs user fees

This provision allows the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to continue collecting user fees through FY 2023.

Limitation on allowable government contractor compensation costs

This provision limits how much a contractor could charge the federal government for an employee’s compensation to $487,000.

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation premium rate increases

This provision raises the premiums that private companies pay the federal government to guarantee their pension benefits.

Cancellation of unobligated balances

Department of Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund

This provision permanently cancels a portion of the unobligated balances in the Department of Justice’s Assets Forfeiture Fund.

Treasury Forfeiture Fund

This provision will permanently cancels a portion of the unobligated balances in the Treasury Forfeiture Fund.

Conservation planning technical assistance user fees

This provision allows the National Resources Conservation Service to charge a fee for providing technical and financial assistance on the development of individualized, site-specific conservation plans.

Self plus one coverage

This provision allows the Office of Personnel Management to offer a self-plus-one option in the Federal Employees Health Benefits program.

DLM ALERT – House Appropriations Names New Members

NEWS

House Appropriations Committee

Chairman Hal Rogers  

Website address: http://appropriations.house.gov/

For Immediate Release: December 4, 2013

Contact: Jennifer Hing, (202) 226-7007

 

Chairman Rogers Announces Three New Republican Members of Appropriations Committee

WASHINGTON, D.C.House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers today announced that three new Republican members will join the House Appropriations Committee.

Rep. Mark Amodei (NV-02), Rep. Martha Roby (AL-02), and Rep. Chris Stewart (UT-02) were approved by the House Republican Steering Committee today.

“I am pleased to welcome Representatives Amodei, Roby, and Stewart to the Committee, and look forward to working side-by-side with them as we tackle our formidable work ahead. Members of the Appropriations Committee have tough jobs to do, and have a great responsibility to properly fund the federal government and support the well-being of the nation,” Chairman Rogers said. “These dedicated public servants have proven their commitment to the responsible shepherding of federal tax dollars, to the regular Appropriations process, and to both the people of their districts and the American people as a whole.”

The slots on the Committee opened following the resignations of Congressmen Rodney Alexander and Jo Bonner, and the death of Defense Subcommittee Chairman C.W. Bill Young.

 

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DLM ALERT – Statement of Administration Policy on NDAA

EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT

OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20503

STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY

S. 1197 – National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2014

(Sen. Levin, D-MI)

The Administration appreciates the Senate Armed Services Committee’s continued support of our national defense in S. 1197, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014.  In particular, the Administration appreciates the support of the Committee for authorities that assist the Armed Forces in operating in unconventional and irregular warfare and countering unconventional threats, support capacity building efforts with foreign military forces, and support contingency or stability operations, as well as its support for the one percent pay raise for members of the uniformed services.  The Administration also commends the Committee for working to offer stronger protections for sexual assault victims.

While there are a number of areas of agreement with the Committee, the Administration has serious concerns with certain provisions.  Several provisions would constrain the ability of the Armed Forces to align military capabilities and force structure with the President’s strategy, impede the ability of the Secretary of Defense to reduce overhead and make programs more efficient, and constrain efforts to implement the U.S. strategy for Afghanistan.  The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress to address these and other concerns, a number of which are outlined in more detail below.  The Administration also looks forward to reviewing a classified annex and working with the Congress to address any concerns on classified programs.

Detainee Matters:  The Administration appreciates the Committee’s constructive proposals regarding transfers of detainees held at the U.S. Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  The Committee’s provisions are a significant improvement over existing law.  Of course, even in the absence of any statutory restrictions, the Administration would transfer a detainee only if any threat the detainee poses can be sufficiently mitigated and only when consistent with our humane treatment policy.  The Administration looks forward to continuing to work with Congress on refining these provisions to ensure that they provide necessary flexibility to the Executive Branch.

TRICARE Fees and Co-Payments:  The Administration believes that military retirees deserve quality, sustainable health care benefits.  For this reason, the Administration strongly supports its requested TRICARE fee initiative that seeks to control the growth of health care costs at the Department of Defense (DOD) while keeping retired beneficiaries’ share of these costs well below the levels experienced when the TRICARE program was implemented in the mid-1990s.  The projected FY 2014 TRICARE savings of $902 million and $9.3 billion through FY 2018 are essential for DOD to successfully address rising personnel costs.  DOD needs these savings to balance and maintain investments for key defense priorities, especially amidst significant fiscal challenges posed by statutory spending caps.  The Administration strongly urges the Congress to support the proposed TRICARE fee initiative.

Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC):  The Administration strongly objects to section 2702, which would make a formal review of the overseas military facility infrastructure a precondition for authorizing any future BRAC round.  The Administration has been reviewing DOD’s overseas infrastructure, and the results of that analysis will inform future infrastructure decisions.  However, the effort to configure our overseas infrastructure in a more efficient way should not prevent the authorization of another round of BRAC analysis for domestic bases.  The Administration urges the Congress to provide the BRAC authorization as requested, which would allow DOD to right size its infrastructure, while providing important assistance to affected communities.  Without authorization for a new round of BRAC, DOD may not properly align the military’s infrastructure with the needs of the evolving force structure, which is critical to ensuring that limited resources are available for the highest priorities of the Armed Forces and national security.

Life Extension Program:  The Administration strongly objects to section 1043, which would require DOD and the National Nuclear Security Administration to develop cost estimates for four separate life extension program (LEP) options as part of the W78/88-1 Phase 6.2/6.2A Feasibility and Cost Study.  The current study scope will inform a cost/risk/benefit decision on a warhead with an interoperable nuclear explosive package that can be used on multiple platforms.  Including efforts to determine feasibility and costs for full scope LEPS on the W78, W88, and W87, and W78/88-1 would significantly delay completion and increase costs of the feasibility study.

Research & Development Funding Reductions:  The Administration objects to the $100 million reduction for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the $100 million reduction to the Navy’s Offensive Anti-Surface Warfare (OASuW) weapon development.  DARPA’s innovative research leads to breakthrough discoveries and helps maintain the technological superiority of the U.S. military.  Full funding for DARPA is important to adequately support ongoing programs and initiate new research activities.  The OASuW development effort is necessary for rebalancing the Department’s mix of force structure and program investments towards the Asia-Pacific theater of operations, and is essential to supporting future operations against heavily defended targets in anti-access/area-denied environments.  The OASuW’s development is aligned with Combatant Commander priorities and leverages existing DARPA investments to enable delivery of required capabilities in the most expeditious and economical manner at the lowest risk.

Retention of Navy Airborne Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Platforms:  The Administration strongly objects to section 124(b)(2), which would require the Navy to maintain the current number of EP-3 aircraft allocated under the Global Force Management Allocation Plan.  The Department is executing a Joint Requirements Oversight Council-approved Maritime ISR and Targeting Transition Plan, which would maintain the ISR capability resident in the legacy force (EP-3/SPA) and develop the future force (P-8 QRC/MQ-4C Triton/Triton Multi-INT) to provide Combatant Commands with a scalable, interoperable, and persistent ISR capability.

Military Construction Projects Funded Using In-Kind Payments:  The Administration strongly objects to section 2801, which would require that military construction projects funded by in-kind payments from partner nations be submitted for congressional authorization in the annual National Defense Authorization Act.  Construction projects provided pursuant to bilateral agreements with host countries or as in-kind payment of residual value are accomplished by sovereign partner nations.  This proposed change in law would result in host nations awaiting actions by the U.S. Congress before they would spend their funds for projects to be constructed in their countries.  At the very least, our partner nations would regard this process unnecessarily burdensome and interfering in their domestic defense decisions.  This requirement could have a negative effect on our ability to secure significant cost-sharing support.

Realignment of Marines Corps Forces in Asia-Pacific Region:  The Administration strongly objects to the limitations imposed by section 2821 on the obligation of funds for the realignment of U.S. Marine Corps units from Okinawa to Guam and Hawaii, a goal to which successive Administrations have remained steadfastly committed since 2006.  A key aspect of the Asia-Pacific rebalance is to create a more operationally resilient Marine Corps presence in the Pacific and invest in Guam as a joint strategic hub.  By preventing the timely obligation of United States and Government of Japan funds to implement this realignment, section 2821 would unnecessarily restrict the ability and flexibility of the President to execute our foreign and defense policies in coordination with our ally, Japan, and undermines a key component of the broader U.S. strategy in the Asia-Pacific region.  Further, the Administration has serious concerns regarding the section 2821 restrictions on the development of public infrastructure on Guam, and the lack of authorization for a military construction project (aircraft hangar) that would directly support the realignment.  These actions would raise questions among regional states about the reliability of the United States security commitments to allies in the region.

Streamlining DOD Management Headquarters:  While the Administration recognizes that there are opportunities for streamlining and reducing duplication in headquarters staffs, we object to section 905 to develop a plan with particular budgetary or fiscal targets, which would preclude the Department from appropriately sizing its workforce to meet its mission workload.  The Secretary of Defense has already issued similar guidance and the Department is planning for a 20 percent reduction in headquarters, including restructuring and streamlining DOD headquarters in the Services, the Joint Staff, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Limitation on the Availability of Funds for the Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO):  The Administration objects to subsection (c) of section 1533, which requires the Government of Afghanistan to agree to use future oil and mineral royalties to reimburse the United States for TFBSO-funded economic assistance.  It is not the policy of the U.S. Government to seek reimbursement for economic assistance programs.  In addition to contradicting long-standing precedent, this provision could harm U.S.-led efforts to build a sustainable Afghan economy and secure a long-term revenue source for the Afghan central government.

Iraqi and Afghan Special Immigrant Visas (SIV):  The Administration appreciates the inclusion of sections 1217 and 1218, relating to authority for SIVs for certain Iraqi and Afghan nationals.  The Administration supports extension of these programs, but notes its concern with the broadening of the class of aliens who would be eligible, and considers the periods of extension provided for under sections 1217 and 1218 insufficient to meet projected program demand for either Iraq or Afghanistan.  We look forward to working with the Congress on these and other appropriate modifications to sections 1217 and 1218 to ensure Iraqi and Afghan nationals who have aided U.S. efforts in these countries through their work, and who have experienced or are experiencing an ongoing serious threat as a result, are able to apply for these visas.

Training U.S. General Purpose Forces with Military and Other Security Forces of Friendly Foreign Countries:  The Administration appreciates the Committee’s support for authorizing training of general purpose forces of the U.S. Armed Forces with military and limited other security forces of friendly foreign countries.  However, the Administration urges that section 1203 be revised to conform to the Administration’s requested purposes and authorities, including concurrence of the Secretary of State, in order to ensure that the focus remains exclusively on the intended purpose to benefit U.S. forces and remains consistent with essential foreign policy considerations.

Personnel Security Clearances:  Given recent events, the Administration opposes section 931 as we are currently conducting a comprehensive 120-day interagency Suitability and Security Processes Review under the Performance Accountability Council, led by the Office of Management and Budget.  The Administration recognizes the need to further strengthen the Personnel Security Clearance Investigations (PSI) program, but given the scope of the Review, the Administration requests that the Senate defer action and not proceed with section 931,which could create a direct conflict with the existing governance structure of a single Security Executive Agent.  The Administration is committed to engaging with the Senate Armed Services Committee and other Congressional committees on the Review’s findings and recommendations to improve the security clearance process.

Supervision of the Acquisition of Cloud Computing Capabilities for Intelligence Analysis:  The Administration appreciates the inclusion of section 943, which addresses the interoperability between a DOD intelligence analysis system and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s (ODNI) Intelligence Community Information Technology Enterprise (IC ITE).  The Administration interprets this provision as allowing DOD to pursue cloud computing capabilities for the Department and does not interpret this provision as intending to supersede the DNI’s current efforts with respect to IC ITE.  As a matter of good governance, the ODNI and DOD will continue their efforts to appropriately align their respective IT systems to enable their related missions.

Trans Regional Web Initiative (TRWI):  The Administration opposes section 343 because prohibiting the Secretary of Defense from expending any funds to continue the TRWI and the associated websites would effectively remove an important Military Information Support Operations tool used by the Geographic Combatant Commanders in support of their missions as directed in the Unified Command Plan.  TRWI is the Department’s only synchronized online influence effort able to challenge the spread of extremist ideology and propaganda on the Web.  Earlier this year, the Department, pursuant to congressional certification requirements in section 1535 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, addressed many of the concerns raised in the Committee report by demonstrating that the TRWI is the most cost-effective means for reaching audiences which affect achievement of Geographic Combatant Commanders Theater Campaign Plan objectives.

Limitation on Allowable Cost for Contractor Employee Compensation:  The Administration commends the Senate for including section 841, which would set the cap establishing the reimbursement limit on compensation for contractor employees at $487,000.  Eliminating the current statutory formula for setting the cap — which has caused the limit to soar by more than 300 percent from $250,000 in the mid-1990s to close to $1 million in FY 2012 – and replacing it with a more reasonable baseline is an important step in restoring fiscal responsibility to federal contracting and giving relief to taxpayers who have been saddled with paying excessive compensation costs to contractors.  We urge the Senate to apply this reform government-wide, as proposed by the Administration, so that this change can be applied uniformly and consistently to all contractor employees who do business with the Federal Government, both defense and civilian.

Land Withdrawals:  The Administration urges the inclusion of the renewals of withdrawals for the China Lake, Limestone Hills, and Chocolate Mountains ranges.  These withdrawals are critical to the continued readiness of the nation’s armed forces.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Programs:  The Administration objects to the restoration of funding for the STARBASE program, which would perpetuate the Federal Government’s fragmented approach to STEM education, whereby more than 220 programs are scattered across 13 agencies.  The Administration’s proposed reorganization of STEM programs would improve STEM education quality and outcomes across the Federal Government.

Constitutional Concerns:  A number of the bill’s provisions, such as section 1065 and 1236, raise additional constitutional concerns, including interference with the President’s authority as Commander in Chief to direct deployment and use of the armed forces and exclusive authorities related to international negotiations.

The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress to address these and other concerns.

 

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DLM ALERT – New Appropriations Subcommittee Chairs Announced

Chairman Rogers Announces New Subcommittee Chairmanships

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers today announced four changes in the Chairmanships of Appropriations subcommittees for the 113th Congress.

The changes were needed due to the passing of Rep. C.W. Bill Young, who was Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, and the retirement of Rep. Rodney Alexander, who was Chairman of the Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee.

“Being an Appropriations Cardinal is an incredibly important job with great responsibility. Year after year, these Subcommittee Chairs are called on to do the tough work of funding the federal government, rooting out waste, making hard decisions on where and how to best use taxpayer dollars, and being responsible and pragmatic leaders who get the job done. I have full confidence that these new Chairmen will meet these challenges – and more – as we face the difficult fiscal landscape ahead,” Chairman Rogers said.

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), formerly Chairman of the Energy and Water Development Subcommittee, will take the helm of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.

“Rodney is a thoughtful, steady, and strong leader, is staunchly dedicated to doing what is best for the country and his district, and has a determined focus that allows him to rise above politics to get things done. He has an unwavering devotion to the safety and security of our nation, and to the care and protection of our men and women in uniform, and I know he will be a great leader of the Defense subcommittee,” Chairman Rogers said.

Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID), formerly Chairman of the Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, will now head the Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development.

“There are very few who know more about the nation’s energy and water needs than Mike Simpson. His leadership, experience, drive, and professional focus make him an excellent fit to chair this subcommittee. I know that he is committed to making the most out of every precious taxpayer dollar, to ensuring that our nation continues to strive toward energy independence, and to fostering an environment that allows our businesses to create jobs and grow the economy,” Chairman Rogers said. “I am looking forward to working with him in his new role.”

Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) will move up the ranks and assume a Chairmanship for the first time as the leader of the Subcommittee on Interior and the Environment.

“Leading the subcommittee in charge of funding everything from our National Parks to the Environmental Protection Agency is an extremely difficult job. Ken is not only up to the task, but will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience that will be an excellent asset to the Committee and to the country as we tackle many fiscal challenges in the future. Ken has proven to be an exceptional leader in eliminating waste and inefficiency in government, has fought for programs and policies that benefit not only the people of his district but all Americans, and has the focus and determination needed to ensure that this important budgetary work gets done,” Chairman Rogers said.

Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) will also become a new Subcommittee Chairman, leading the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch.

“The Legislative Branch Subcommittee takes on the important work of providing funding for the operations, safety, and upkeep of the Nation’s Capitol. It is sometimes a thankless job, but this subcommittee is vital to the functioning of our democracy, and Tom Cole will be a tremendous asset as its new leader. He is dedicated to the careful and responsible use of tax dollars – especially in Congress’s backyard – and he understands the importance of ensuring an open, accessible, and safe environment for the thousands of Members, staffers, and visitors who come to the Capitol every day,” Chairman Rogers said.

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DLM ALERT – FAA Announces Expanded Use of Personal Electronics

Press Release – FAA to Allow Airlines to Expand Use of Personal Electronics

For Immediate Release
October 31, 2013
Contact: Kristie Greco
Phone: (202) 267-3883
WASHINGTON– The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Michael Huerta today announced that the FAA has determined that airlines can safely expand passenger use of Portable Electronic Devices (PEDs) during all phases of flight, and is immediately providing the airlines with implementation guidance.
Due to differences among fleets and operations, the implementation will vary among airlines, but the agency expects many carriers will prove to the FAA that their planes allow passengers to safely use their devices in airplane mode, gate-to-gate, by the end of the year.
The FAA based its decision on input from a group of experts that included representatives from the airlines, aviation manufacturers, passengers, pilots, flight attendants, and the mobile technology industry.
Passengers will eventually be able to read e-books, play games, and watch videos on their devices during all phases of flight, with very limited exceptions. Electronic items, books and magazines, must be held or put in the seat back pocket during the actual takeoff and landing roll. Cell phones should be in airplane mode or with cellular service disabled – i.e., no signal bars displayed—and cannot be used for voice communications based on FCC regulations that prohibit any airborne calls using cell phones. If your air carrier provides Wi-Fi service during flight, you may use those services. You can also continue to use short-range Bluetooth accessories, like wireless keyboards.
“We believe today’s decision honors both our commitment to safety and consumer’s increasing desire to use their electronic devices during all phases of their flights,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “These guidelines reflect input from passengers, pilots, manufacturers, and flight attendants, and I look forward to seeing airlines implement these much anticipated guidelines in the near future.”
“I commend the dedication and excellent work of all the experts who spent the past year working together to give us a solid report so we can now move forward with a safety-based decision on when passengers can use PEDs on airplanes,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.
The PED Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) concluded most commercial airplanes can tolerate radio interference signals from PEDs. In a recent report, they recommended that the FAA provide airlines with new procedures to assess if their airplanes can tolerate radio interference from PEDs. Once an airline verifies the tolerance of its fleet, it can allow passengers to use handheld, lightweight electronic devices – such as tablets, e-readers, and smartphones—at all altitudes. In rare instances of low-visibility, the crew will instruct passengers to turn off their devices during landing. The group also recommended that heavier devices should be safely stowed under seats or in overhead bins during takeoff and landing.
The FAA is streamlining the approval of expanded PED use by giving airlines updated, clear guidance. This FAA tool will help airlines assess the risks of potential PED-induced avionics problems for their airplanes and specific operations. Airlines will evaluate avionics as well as changes to stowage rules and passenger announcements. Each airline will also need to revise manuals, checklists for crewmember training materials, carry-on baggage programs and passenger briefings before expanding use of PEDs. Each airline will determine how and when they will allow passengers broader use of PEDs.
The FAA did not consider changing the regulations regarding the use of cell phones for voice communications during flight because the issue is under the jurisdiction of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The ARC did recommend that the FAA consult with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to review its current rules. Cell phones differ from most PEDs in that they are designed to send out signals strong enough to be received at great distances
Top Things Passengers Should Know about Expanded Use of PEDs on Airplanes:
1. Make safety your first priority.
2. Changes to PED policies will not happen immediately and will vary by airline. Check with your airline to see if and when you can use your PED.
3. Current PED policies remain in effect until an airline completes a safety assessment, gets FAA approval, and changes its PED policy.
4. Cell phones may not be used for voice communications.
5. Devices must be used in airplane mode or with the cellular connection disabled. You may use the WiFi connection on your device if the plane has an installed WiFi system and the airline allows its use. You can also continue to use short-range Bluetooth accessories, like wireless keyboards.
6. Properly stow heavier devices under seats or in the overhead bins during takeoff and landing. These items could impede evacuation of an aircraft or may injure you or someone else in the event of turbulence or an accident.
7. During the safety briefing, put down electronic devices, books and newspapers and listen to the crewmember’s instructions.
8. It only takes a few minutes to secure items according to the crew’s instructions during takeoff and landing.
9. In some instances of low visibility – about one percent of flights – some landing systems may not be proved PED tolerant, so you may be asked to turn off your device.
10. Always follow crew instructions and immediately turn off your device if asked.
Current FAA regulations require an aircraft operator to determine that radio frequency interference from PEDs is not a flight safety risk before the operator authorizes them for use during certain phases of flight. Even PEDs that do not intentionally transmit signals can emit unintentional radio energy. This energy may affect aircraft safety because the signals can occur at the same frequencies used by the plane’s highly sensitive communications, navigation, flight control and electronic equipment. An airline must show it can prevent potential interference that could pose a safety hazard. The PED ARC report helps the FAA to guide airlines through determining that they can safely allow widespread use of PEDs.
The PED ARC began work in January, at the request of Administrator Huerta, to determine if it is safe to allow more widespread use of electronic devices in today’s aircraft. The group also reviewed the public’s comments in response to an August 2012 FAA notice on current policy, guidance, and procedures that aircraft operators use when determining if passengers can use PEDs. The group did not consider the use of electronic devices for voice communications. A fact sheet on the report is now available.
The FAA is immediately giving airlines a clear path to safely expand PED use by passengers, and the Administrator will evaluate the rest of the ARC’s longer-term recommendations and respond at a later date.
A Portable Electronic Device is any piece of lightweight, electrically-powered equipment. These devices are typically consumer electronic devices capable of communications, data processing and/or utility. Examples range from handheld, lightweight electronic devices such as tablets, e-readers, and smartphones to small devices such as MP3 players and electronic toys.
The PED ARC report and FAA guidance materials are available on our website..

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DLM ALERT – Appropriators Call for Budget Topline

NEWS
House Appropriations Committee
Chairman Hal Rogers
For Immediate Release: October 31, 2013
Contact: Jennifer Hing with Chairman Rogers, (202) 226-7007
Rob Blumenthal/Eve Goldsher the Chairwoman Mikulski, 202-224-7363

Rogers and Mikulski Call On Budget Conference to Set Appropriations Topline
House and Senate Appropriations Chairs Ask Conferees to Provide a Fiscal Year 2014 Discretionary Number by November 22

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the bi-cameral Budget Conference Committee kicked off today, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski urged the leaders of the Conference Committee to make setting discretionary spending caps for the 2014 and 2015 fiscal years their first priority.

In a letter sent to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the House and Senate Budget Committees, Chairman Rogers and Chairwoman Mikulski underscored the urgent need to arrive at an overall discretionary number (302(a)) for both the House and the Senate to use in drafting annual appropriations legislation.

Because the December 13 budget conference completion date would leave only a month to conference and pass the 12 annual appropriations bills, Chairman Rogers and Chairwoman Mikulski requested that the conferees strive to set this topline number by November 22, saying additional time to work on these critical bills would result in a “much better product.”

Chairman Rogers and Chairwoman Mikulski also asked for a topline number for fiscal year 2015, to “avoid the situation we encountered this year” – in which the disparity between the House and Senate’s topline numbers hindered progress on appropriations bills.

“We believe that if an agreement on a discretionary spending number can be reached early, it will allow for more thoughtful and responsible spending decisions, set the parameters for the budgetary savings that need to be reached in your Budget Conference, and build momentum for a larger budget agreement that addresses the nation’s wide range of fiscal challenges,” the letter stated.

Chairwoman Mikulski reiterated the pressing need to find this shared number to conference and pass the 12 appropriations bills on a shorter timeline: “To accomplish our goal of funding the government for the rest of this fiscal year, we need a topline as soon as possible, and preferably by Thanksgiving,” said Chairwoman Mikulski. “I am hopeful that the Budget conference will agree on a number that replaces sequester sooner rather than later, so that the Appropriations Committees have a topline that will let us write responsible bills that invest in America’s national security, public safety, and infrastructure, meet compelling human needs, and avoid another shutdown, slamdown crisis in January and next year.”

Chairman Rogers echoed Chairwoman Mikulski. “My Committee is prepared to work tirelessly to complete the critical work of funding all of the government by January 15,” he said. “Setting this common, topline number will allow us to get our work done as quickly as possible, thus avoiding the threat of a government shutdown in another few months, and providing some much-needed stability and direction for our nation and our economy.”

A copy of the letter can be found here: http://appropriations.house.gov/UploadedFiles/10.31.13_Mikulski_Rogers_Letter_to_Budget_Conferees.pdf

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DLM ALERT – Treasury/OMB Announce Deficit Numbers

Deficit More Than Cut in Half Since 2009

Posted by Sylvia Mathews Burwell on October 30, 2013 at 04:51 PM EDT
The Office of Management and Budget and the Department of the Treasury today released the fiscal year (FY) 2013 budget results, which show that we are continuing to make significant progress in reducing the deficit. The final 2013 deficit was $680 billion, $409 billion less than the 2012 deficit and $293 billion less than forecast in President Obama’s April Budget. As a percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the deficit fell to 4.1 percent, representing a reduction of more than half from the deficit that the Administration inherited when the President took office in 2009. The deficit reduction since that point represents the fastest decline in the deficit over a sustained period since the end of World War II.

The President believes that growing our economy and creating more good jobs with higher wages must be our top economic priority. That is why he has consistently advocated a strategy to strengthen the middle class while improving our nation’s long-term fiscal position by cutting the deficit in a balanced way. Under the President’s leadership, we have already locked in more than $2.5 trillion of deficit reduction over the next decade, through a combination of spending cuts and revenue increases from asking the wealthiest to pay their share.

In his 2014 Budget, the President presented a plan that would make critical investments to strengthen the middle class, create jobs, and grow the economy, while continuing to cut the deficit in a balanced way. It is a plan that demonstrates that we do not need to choose between growing the economy and taking further action to reduce the deficit – we can do both. Building on the $2.5 trillion in deficit reduction already locked in, the President’s plan would replace the economically damaging sequester while achieving additional deficit reduction to put Federal debt on a downward path as a share of the economy. And unlike sequestration, which includes no long-term deficit reduction, the President’s plan includes structural reforms that would generate growing savings in the second decade and beyond.

The significant decrease in the deficit from last year was due to a combination of higher receipts and lower outlays in 2013, which can be attributed to a variety of factors, including a stronger economy, the expiration of certain tax cuts for high income Americans, and spending reductions like those achieved from the troop drawdown in Afghanistan as proposed in the President’s Budget.

Looking forward, the Administration remains committed to working with Congress to enact proposals that will strengthen the economy and middle class by making needed investments in areas like education, infrastructure, research and development, and national security, while putting debt as a share of the economy on a downward path.

Sylvia Mathews Burwell is the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

DLM ALERT – Statement of Administration Policy Supporting CR/Debt Limit Bill


EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT

OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20503

 STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY

Substitute Amendment to H.R. 2775 – Continuing Appropriations Act, 2014

(Sen. Reid, D-NV, and Sen. Mikulski, D-MD)

 

The Administration strongly supports Senate passage of the amendment in the nature of a substitute to H.R. 2775, making continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2014, and for other purposes.  The legislation represents a bipartisan agreement to reopen the Government and remove the threat of default that would harm middle-class families, American businesses, and the Nation’s economic standing in the world.  The Administration urges the Congress to act swiftly to pass the bill in order to protect the full faith and credit of the United States and end the Government shutdown.  The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress on fiscal year 2014 appropriations legislation for the full year.

 

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DLM ALERT – Administration Opposes FAA CR

Below is the Statement of Administration Policy opposing the FAA CR as part of a “piecemeal” approach on Appropriations.

EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT

OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20503

October 9, 2013

STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY

H.J. Res. 90  ̶  Federal Aviation Administration Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014

(Rep. Rogers, R-KY)

 

The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.J. Res. 90, which is another attempt at funding the Federal Government in piecemeal fashion by restoring only very limited activities. Consideration of appropriations legislation in this manner is not a serious or responsible way to run the United States Government.  Instead of opening up a few Government functions, the House of Representatives should re-open all of the Government.  The harmful impacts of a shutdown extend across Government, affecting services that are critical to small businesses, women, children, seniors, and others across the Nation.  The Senate acted in a responsible manner on a short-term funding measure to maintain Government functions and avoid a damaging Government shutdown.  The House of Representatives should allow a straight up or down vote on Senate-passed H.J. Res. 59.

 

If the President were presented with H.J. Res. 90, he would veto the bill.

 

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