U.S. Senate appropriators moved recently to cut nearly 90 percent of fiscal 2014 funds for developing a new B-61 nuclear gravity bomb “tail kit,” adding to a list of funding disputes over controversial updates to the weapon, Inside Defense reported.
Appropriations committees in the House and Senate have funded certain B-61 refurbishment efforts at levels far below ceilings set by the Armed Services committees in each chamber. The Senate’s defense appropriations draft would provide the Air Force tail-kit project with $6 million in the coming budget cycle, a whopping $62 million less than was authorized.
For their part, House defense appropriators left the tail-kit line item with a bit more funding: $55 million of the $68 million authorized. Lawmakers at that committee said the dollar figure the service had requested was “ahead of need,” the website reported.
In May, the Defense Department told Congress it expects the tail-kit effort to ultimately cost more than $3.7 billion, Inside Defense reported separately last Wednesday.
A legislative insider said the reduction would dovetail with the Senate Appropriations Committee’s move earlier this summer to provide $168 million less than the Obama administration had requested for the next fiscal year to modernize other B-61 components.
Separately, House and Senate appropriators rejected an Air Force request for $33 million in fiscal 2014 to lay groundwork for equipping F-35 fighter jets to carry the B-61 bomb. That effort is not scheduled to begin until later this decade.
What We're Following See More »
"Even if House Republicans manage to get enough members of their party on board with the latest version of their health care bill, they will face another battle in the Senate: whether the bill complies with the chamber’s arcane ... Byrd rule, which stipulates all provisions in a reconciliation bill must affect federal spending and revenues in a way that is not merely incidental." Democrats should have the advantage in that fight, "unless the Senate pulls another 'nuclear option.'”
The House has passed a one-week spending bill that will avert a government shutdown which was set to begin at midnight. Lawmakers now have an extra week to come to a longer agreement which is expected to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year in September. The legislation now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass before President Trump signs it.
President Trump’s portrayal of an effort to funnel more Medicaid dollars to Puerto Rico as a "bailout" is complicating negotiations over a continuing resolution on the budget. "House Democrats are now requiring such assistance as a condition for supporting the continuing resolution," a position that the GOP leadership is amenable to. "But Mr. Trump’s apparent skepticism aligns him with conservative House Republicans inclined to view its request as a bailout, leaving the deal a narrow path to passage in Congress."
Democrats in the House are threatening to shut down the government if Republicans expedite a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer Thursday. Lawmakers have introduced a one-week spending bill to give themselves an extra week to reach a long-term funding deal, which seemed poised to pass easily. However, the White House is pressuring House Republicans to take a vote on their Obamacare replacement Friday to give Trump a legislative victory, though it is still not clear that they have the necessary votes to pass the health care bill. This could go down to the wire.