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August 1 -  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Monday night executed a procedural move that sets up a House-passed "security minibus" for potential action on the floor, initiating a first reading of the bill and ensuring the bill will be placed on the Senate calendar.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on Friday sent a letter to all Members of Congress announcing September 29 as the date when the Department will have exhausted "extraordinary measures" to extend the debt ceiling (coinciding with the end of the fiscal year...coincidence?). Mnuchin wrote, "Based upon our available information, I believe that it is critical that Congress act to increase the nation's borrowing authority by September 29, 2017. I urge Congress to act promptly on this important matter."

July 27 - It looks like the House is on track to finish work on the minibus spending bill tonight.

The Senate's NDAA will be brought up after the health care vote, although it remains uncertain whether they will wait until September for any movement.

July 26 - Democratsic leadership indicates they will not back a minibus, concerned that passing defense & "security" spending bills could hinder domestic spending bills.

House Rules Committee last night advanced a rule for floor consideration of 3 security spending bills. Defense expected today.

July 25 - House leaders will proceed with a 4-bill "security" minibus spending strategy, pushing aside domestic priorities. No word yet on recess. The four bills included: defense, military construction and veterans, energy and water, and the legislative branch.

July 24 - Rep. McCarthy predicted hundreds of amendments will be added to the security minibus (#armorbus) set to reach the House floor this week.

July 20 -  Senator John McCain was diagnosed with glioblastoma brain cancer earlier this week. The tumor was diagnosed after the longtime senator and war hero underwent surgery to remove a blood clot above his left eye at the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix. Read the following  Statement by the Defense Health Research Consortium

July 20 - The House Budget Committee approved its budget resolution late last night. No word yet on when it will reach the House floor.

July 18- The House GOP leadership announced on Tuesday that they would move a four-bill, security-related appropriations "minibus" on the floor next week, abandoning talk of moving a full 12-bill omnibus as had been previously proposed.

July 11 - The Senate National Defense Authorization Act for FY2018 (S. 1519) was filed last night and made public this morning (attached). The Senate could possibly start debate on the NDAA bill next week. As you may recall, last year there were two sections damaging to the CDMRP. Both sections are included in the new bill, though one of them has been broken into three parts. This is where our fight is; these are the sections we need to focus on nullifying.

FY2018 NDAA BILL TEXT

FY2017 sections damaging to the CDMRP: 

  • Sect. 756 - defining narrowly the type of research that could be funded at DOD.
  • Sect. 898 - contracting compliance auditing requirements for CDMRPs. This year’s bill contains a similar section, but it is broken into three sections.

FY2018 sections damaging to the CDMRP:

  • Sect. 733 - PROHIBITION ON CONDUCT OF CERTAIN MEDICAL RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS.
    The Secretary of Defense and each Secretary of a military department may not fund or conduct a medical research and development project unless the Secretary funding or conducting the project: (1) submits to the Committees on Armed Services of the Senate and the House of Representatives a written certification that the project is designed to directly protect, enhance, or restore the health and safety of members of the Armed Forces; and (2) does not initiate the funding or conduct of such project until the date that is 90 days after the submittal of such written certification.
  • Sect. 891 - IMPROVED TRANSPARENCY AND OVERSIGHT OVER DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT, TEST, AND EVALUATION EFFORTS AND PROCUREMENT ACTIVITIES RELATED TO MEDICAL RESEARCH.
    The Secretary of Defense may not enter into a contract, grant, or cooperative agreement for congressional special interest medical research programs under the congressionally directed medical research program of the Department of Defense unless the contract, grant, or cooperative agreement meets the following conditions: (1) Compliance with the cost and price data requirements under section 2306a of title 10, United States Code; (2) Compliance with the cost accounting standards under section 1502 of title 41, United States Code; (3) Compliance with requirements for full and open competition under section 2304 of title 10, United States Code, without reliance on one of the exceptions set forth in subsection (c) of such section.
  • Sect. 892 - RIGHTS IN TECHNICAL DATA RELATED TO MEDICAL RESEARCH.
    The Secretary of Defense may not enter into a contract, grant, or cooperative agreement for congressional special interest medical research programs under the congressionally directed medical research program of the Department of Defense unless the contract, grant, or cooperative agreement provides that the United States Government will have the same rights to the technical data to an item or process developed under the contract, grant, or cooperative agreement as applicable under section 2320(a)(2)(A) of title 10, United States Code, to items and processes developed exclusively with Federal funds where the medical research results in medicines and other treatments that will be procured or otherwise paid for by the Federal Government through the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, Medicare, Medicaid, or other Federal Government health programs.
  • Sect. 893 - OVERSIGHT, AUDIT, AND CERTIFICATION FROM THE DEFENSE CONTRACT AUDIT AGENCY FOR PROCUREMENT ACTIVITIES RELATED TO MEDICAL RESEARCH.
    The Secretary of Defense may not enter into a contract, grant, or cooperative agreement for congressional special interest medical research programs under the congressionally directed medical research program of the Department of Defense unless the contract, grant, or cooperative agreement meets the following conditions: (1) Prior to obligation of any funds, review by and certification from the Defense Contract Audit Agency regarding the adequacy of the accounting systems of the proposed awardee, including a forward pricing review of the awardee’s proposal; (2) Prior to any payment on the contract, grant, or cooperative agreement, performance by the Defense Contract Audit Agency of an incurred cost audit.

July 10 - The House will vote on the fiscal 2018 defense appropriations bill this week.

June 29 - The fiscal 2018 Defense Appropriations bill passed by committee today. It now heads to the House floor for consideration after the July 4 recess.

June 28 -  The FY 18 defense appropriations act committee report is now available for viewing. At a quick glance, funding levels for the CDMRPs look like robust levels similar to what the House put in last year.  Click here to read the full report.

June 27 - House Armed Services Chair Thornberry unveiled the FY18 NDAA on Monday. Bill Text. Bill Summary.

June 25 - Over the weekend, the House Appropriations Committee released the subcommittee draft of the fiscal 2018 Defense Appropriations bill, which will be considered in subcommittee on Monday, June 26.

Highlights:

  • $658.1 billion defense spending
  • $73.9B in OCO
  • $125M for TBI/psychological health research
  • $282 million for cancer research
  • $125 million for traumatic brain injury and psychological health research
  • and $277 million for sexual assault prevention and response.
  • (All of these funding levels represent increases above the President’s request.)

June 23 -  Senate Armed Services Committee markup of National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is now scheduled for Wednesday, June 28: Link.

June 8, 2017: letter to House and Senate Defense Appropriations leadership urging continued support for the critical and highly successful defense health research programs funded through the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) at the Department of Defense (DoD). Read the House letter here, and the senate letter here.

June 5 - Congress is preparing to write 12 fiscal 2018 spending bills without a budget resolution to set the top lines, hoping to craft funding for the government without knowing how much they can spend. New levels of dysfunction. "Regular order" is highly unlikely for fiscal 2018 appropriations. Politico Pro reports Republican leaders probably won't release the fiscal 2018 proposed budget resolution for several weeks.

May 23 - The White House released the President's fiscal 2018 budget proposal this morning. Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney held a press briefing immediately following the budget's publication online. You can read President Trump's full fiscal 2018 budget proposal here.

May 5 - The Senate on Thursday, May 4, passed the $1 trillion omnibus bill to fund the government through the end of September with a vote of 79-18. The President signed the bill Friday afternoon before the midnight CR deadline.

There are now only four-and-a-half months left before the new fiscal year begins on Oct. 1 The Senate Budget Committee will begin work on the fiscal 2018 budget resolution sometime in June. Get ready for another stopgap spending measure to avoid a government shutdown come September, as a compressed calendar, a delayed presidential budget request, the lack of agreement on spending limits, and a renewed focus on health care legislation have all conspired to slow down appropriations yet again.

 

May 1 - FY2017 Omnibus released! The 1,665 page FY 2017 omnibus includes the outstanding 11 spending bills and funds the government until the end of the fiscal year on September 20. The House will take up the measure first, followed by the Senate, before the current short-term continuing resolution expires May 5.

View the FY2017 full DOD spending bill text here and the Committee summary here. CDMRPs are fully funded in the bill.

 

March 13 - Roll Call: "Last Wednesday, House members voted 371-48 to pass and send to the Senate a fiscal 2017 Defense appropriations bill that was the result of bipartisan and bicameral negotiations among senior appropriators. Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin, the lead Democrat on the Senate’s Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, praised the bill, which he worked to draft. “This bill shows that we can make smart reductions to underperforming programs at the Department of Defense, and invest the savings in what really matters: support for the women and men in the Armed Forces and their families, new equipment for our troops, and investments in future technologies, including medical research,” the Illinois lawmaker said. “I look forward to this bill being the beginning of a process to fund the entire federal government in a responsible and fair manner.”

But there were few signs of early progress on measures other than that Pentagon spending bill, which Durbin described last week as a measure that “could be an important vehicle to get a lot of things done” with its arrival from the House. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who has long traded the gavel of the Energy-Water subcommittee with her Republican colleague Lamar Alexander of Tennessee said last week she did not know how the fiscal 2017 process would advance. “I keep in touch with Lamar, and so far, nothing. So I don’t know what it’s going to be, and it’s very frustrating,” the California Democrat." Read the full Roll Call article here.

 

March 9 - Politico: "The House on Wednesday handily approved the final $584 billion defense spending bill for this fiscal year, kicking off an effort to fund all of the government for the rest of the year before the continuing spending resolution expires on April 28. The vote was 371-48. Forty-three Democrats and five Republicans opposed the measure. Unlike an initial defense spending measure passed by the House in June, the revised bill doesn't short fund the Pentagon's war account to boost base spending. Most Democrats opposed that bill, and the Obama administration threatened then to veto it. Instead, the new measure largely conforms to the National Defense Authorization Act passed in December. And the new Trump White House now supports the bill's passage." Read the full Politico story here.

 

March 6, 2017 - Earlier today, the final FY17 Defense Appropriations bill was filed, and the bill may come to the floor as early as next week. Go to PDF p. 274 to see the CDMRP table and page down for lists of programs in the PRCRP and the PRMRP. I think we did very well overall, and both PRCRP and PRMRP received boosts in funding. I anticipate that it will pass in the House, but the Senate may be more problematic. PDF of Defense fiscal 2017 Bill

 

March 2, 2017 - House Appropriations Committee: "House Appropriations Committee today introduced the final version of the fiscal year 2017 Defense Appropriations bill, which will be considered on the House floor next week. The bill closely reflects the Defense Appropriations bill the House passed last summer, and is consistent with the final National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2017. The legislation funds critical national security needs, including military operations and readiness programs, as well as health and quality-of-life programs for our troops and military families. In total, the bill provides $577.9 billion, an increase of $5.2 billion over the fiscal year 2016 enacted level and $1.6 billion more than the Obama Administration’s request. This includes $516.1 billion in base discretionary funding – an increase of $2 billion above current levels – and $61.8 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO)/Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) funding – $3.2 billion above current levels. When combined with the $5.8 billion in supplemental funding enacted in the Continuing Resolution that passed in December, the total Defense funding for fiscal year 2017 is $583.7 billion, an increase of $10.9 billion over fiscal year 2016." House Appropriations Committee Press Release

 

February 28, 2017 - Politico: "The House is expected to vote on fiscal 2017 Defense appropriations legislation sometime in the next two weeks, according to four senior congressional aides. The measure is not expected to be the same as the bill the House passed in June. That version would have shifted $16 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations funding to the base budget to cover the military's so-called “wish lists” of unfunded priorities and would have only funded the war budget through April." Read the full Politico Story.

Clippings

July 20

CQ (subscription required): Senate 302(b) Allocations!! "The Senate Appropriations Committee approved 16-15 the allocations for the 12 spending bills under the committee's jurisdiction. The panel adopted its allocations at the fiscal 2017 funding level of $1.07 trillion in base discretionary funding, with $104 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations, or war funding.

The allocations are:

  • Agriculture — $20.52 billion, a $352 million decrease from fiscal 2017 enacted levels
  • Commerce-Justice-Science — $53.36 billion, a $3.189 billion decrease from fiscal 2017 enacted levels
  • Defense —  $513.1 billion in base funding and $82.1 billion in OCO; comparison not listed
  • Energy-Water —  $38.4 billion, a $629 million increase from fiscal 2017 enacted levels
  • Financial Services — $20.87 billion, a $639 million decrease from fiscal 2017 enacted levels
  • Homeland Security —  $44.05 billion, a $1.642 billion increase from fiscal 2017 enacted levels
  • Interior-Environment —  $32.03 billion, a $250 million decrease from fiscal 2017 enacted levels
  • Labor-HHS-Education — $164.06 billion, a $3.04 billion increase from fiscal 2017 enacted levels
  • Legislative Branch — $4.49 billion, a $50 million increase from fiscal 2017 enacted levels
  • Military Construction-VA —  $88.21 billion, a $5.835 billion increase from fiscal 2017 enacted levels
  • State-Foreign Operations — $30.41 billion, a $6.176 billion decrease from fiscal 2017 enacted levels

• Transportation-HUD — $60.05 billion, a $2.4 billion increase from fiscal 2017 enacted levels

June 28

Politico: "Republican leadership and House Budget Committee Chairwoman Diane Black (R-Tenn.) reached a fragile agreement with defense hawks over the weekend, defusing a contentious matter over Pentagon spending that had held up the fiscal blueprint for weeks. But several committee chairmen are now balking at the second part of the deal: a promise of about $50 billion in additional cuts to mandatory programs to make those defense increases more digestible for conservatives. The pushback from chairmen, including Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-Texas) and Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.), was so strong that the budget panel late Monday night halted plans to unveil its sweeping fiscal blueprint this week, two GOP budget sources told POLITICO.

June 27

The Hill: "The House Armed Services Committee unveiled a $696.5 billion defense policy bill on Monday. The committee’s version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) would authorize $28.5 billion more than what was requested by President Trump, but is $8.5 billion less than what the committee’s chairman said he was moving ahead with last week. The bill would be broken down into $621.5 billion for the base budget and $75 billion for a war fund known as the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account. Of the OCO, $10 billion would be used for base budget requirements."

Reuters: "The $621.5 billion proposed base spending plan for the Pentagon and defense related expenses at the U.S. Department of Energy was more than 13 percent higher than the 2018 defense spending budget cap of $549 billion which would need to be raised by Congress for the legislation to be enacted. The proposal also included $75 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) to pay for ongoing wars. This funding would not count against the budget caps. The House proposal would put total defense-related spending at $696 billion for fiscal 2018. Trump's budget proposal included $65 billion for OCO funding, and total spending of $668 billion."