Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Washington Perspective -- Taxes, Senate Armed Services bill

This week Congress is working on whether to extend the so-called “payroll tax holiday.” At issue is how to pay for it. This is not a trivial problem as extending it will add $240B to the deficit. What is not generally carried by the media is the tax cut is a cut on Social Security taxes. Before the cut, the individual paid 6.2% and the employer paid 6.2%. This year the individual’s share was 4.2% and the Administration has proposed extending it to next year. Also under discussion is whether this cut hastens the time when the social security trust fund runs out of money … as well as how effective this short-term stimulus might be at improving the economy and jobs picture.

Secondly, the Senate passed the Defense Authorization Act, paving the way for a House-Senate conference. Notably the Senate then adopted about 40 amendments as a package. They include one that would require the Pentagon to be able to audit its financial statements by 2014.

The block of amendments also included one by Sen Collins (R-ME), Sen Shaheen (D-NH) and Sen Casey (D-PA) that would require an intelligence assessment of the threat of shoulder-fired missiles emanating from Libya and the development and implementation of a strategy to mitigate the peril (as well as reports to Congress on both).

Also included was an amendment by Sen Casey that would withhold however much money is authorized in the final bill for the Pakistan counterinsurgency fund until Congress gets a certification from the administration that Islamabad is making "significant efforts" toward combating improvised explosive devices, which are killing U.S. troops in Afghanistan after most are made with fertilizer produced in Pakistan.

Probably more than you want to know, but (thanks to CQ) here is the full list of amendments approved in that block:

· Wicker amendment to provide for the freedom of conscience of military chaplains with respect to the performance of marriages. (#1056)

· Ayotte amendment to modify the Financial Improvement and Audit Readiness Plan to provide that a complete and validated full statement of budget resources is ready by not later than September 30, 2014. (#1066)

· Inhofe amendment to require a report on the feasibility of using unmanned aerial systems to perform airborne inspection of navigational aids in foreign airspace. (#1102)

· Wicker amendment to improve the transition of members of the Armed Forces with experience in the operation of certain motor vehicles into careers operating commercial motor vehicles in the private sector. (#1116)

· Shaheen amendment to authorize the acquisition of real property and associated real property interests in the vicinity of Hanover, New Hampshire, as may be needed for the Engineer Research and Development Center laboratory facilities at the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory. (#1122)

· Reid amendment to redesignate the Mike O’Callaghan Federal Hospital in Nevada as the Mike O’Callaghan Federal Medical Center. (#1129)

· Reid amendment to clarify certain provisions of the Clean Air Act relating to fire suppression agents. (#1130)

· McCain amendment to require a plan to ensure audit readiness of statements of budgetary resources. (#1132)

· Blunt amendment to require a report on the policies and practices of the Navy for naming the vessels of the Navy. (#1134)

· Hagan amendment to require the Comptroller General to review medical research and development sponsored by the Department of Defense relating to improved combat casualty care and saving lives on the battlefield. (#1143)

· Begich amendment to authorize a land conveyance and exchange at Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson, Alaska. (#1149, as modified)

· Warner amendment to provide for the consideration of energy security and reliability in the development and implementation of energy performance goals. (#1162)

· Warner amendment to promote increasing acquisition and procurement exchanges between officials in the Department of Defense and defense officials in India. (#1164)

· Warner amendment to express the sense of Congress on the use of modeling and simulation in Department of Defense activities. (#1165)

· Warner amendment to express the sense of Congress on ties between the Joint Warfighting and Coalition Center and the Allied Command Transformation of NATO. (#1166)

· Warner amendment to require a report on the effects of planned reductions of personnel at the Joint Warfare Analysis Center on personnel skills at the Center. (#1167, as modified)

· Murray amendment to extend the number of years that multiyear contracts may be entered into for the purchase of advanced biofuels. (#1178, as modified)

· Collins amendment relating to man-portable air-defense systems originating from Libya. (#1180, as modified)

· Sessions amendment to require the maintenance of a triad of strategic nuclear delivery systems. (#1183, as modified)

· Coburn amendment to require the Comptroller General of the United States reports on the major automated information system programs of the Department of Defense. (#1207, as modified)

· Nelson (FL) amendment to require an assessment of the advisability of stationing additional DDG-51 class destroyers at Naval Station Mayport, Florida. (#1210)

· Casey amendment to require a certification on efforts by the Government of Pakistan to implement a strategy to counter improvised explosive devices. (#1215, as modified)

· McCain-Portman amendment to require a Comptroller General report on redundancies, inefficiencies, and gaps in DOD 6.1-6.3 Science and Technology (S&T) programs. (#1227)McCain-Portman amendment to require a Comptroller General report on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) initiatives. (#1228)

· Shaheen amendment to require a Department of Defense assessment of the industrial base for night vision image intensification sensors. ($1237) • Warner amendment to provide for installation energy metering requirements. (#1240)

· McCain amendment to provide for increased efficiency and a reduction of Federal spending require for data servers and centers. (#1245)

· McCain amendment to require the Secretary of Defense to submit a report on the probationary period in the development of the short take-off, vertical landing variant of the Joint Strike Fighter. (#1250)

· Warner amendment to establish a training policy for Department of Defense energy managers. (#1266)

· Baucus amendment to require a pilot program on the receipt by members of the Armed Forces of civilian credentialing for skills requires of military occupational specialties. (#1276)

· McCain amendment to require the Secretary of Defense to submit, with the budget justification materials supporting the Department of Defense budget request for fiscal year 2013, information on the implementation of recommendations made by the Government Accountability Office with respect to the acquisition of launch services through the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program. (#1280)

· McCain amendment to require a plan for normalizing defense cooperation with the Republic of Georgia. (#1281, as modified)

· Webb amendment to extend the time limit for submittal of claims under TRICARE for care provided outside the United States. (#1298)

· Levin amendment to authorize the award of the distinguished service cross for captain Frederick L. Spaulding for acts of valor during the Vietnam War. (#1301)

· Levin amendment to authorize the exchange with the United Kingdom of certain F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft. (#1303)

· Hatch amendment to require the Secretary of Defense to submit to Congress a long-term plan for maintaining a minimal capacity to produce intercontinental ballistic missile solid rocket motors. (#1315)

· Portman amendment to require a report on the analytic capabilities of the Department of Defense regarding foreign ballistic missile threats. (#1317)

· Cochran amendment to extend the authorization for a military construction project for the Air National Guard to relocate a munitions storage complex at Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport, Mississippi. (#1324)

· Risch amendment to require exploration of opportunities to increase foreign military training with allies at test and training ranges in the continental United States. (#1326)

· Lieberman amendment to require a report on the approval and implementation of the Air Sea Battle Concept. (#1332)

Finally, we expect both House and Senate Appropriations bills to come to the floor next week as part of a very large omnibus bill.

For your consideration. Mike

Michael M. Dunn

Air Force Association

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Siloed missiles seem a bit vulnerable with current targeting technolgies. Perhaps a revisiting of a mobile ICBM on rail or trucks might be appropriate.