Legislative and Executive Branch Activity

Defense Appropriations

This week, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense will mark up its FY 2014 Department of Defense Appropriations Bill. Last week, the House passed its FY 2014 Defense spending measure (H.R. 2397). The House bill provides $3.55 billion less for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), which some say is a sign of waning Congressional support for the Afghanistan war.

State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Update

Last week by a vote of 23-7, the Senate Appropriations Committee advanced its $50.6 billion spending measure for the State Department, with $6.5 billion for OCO. Similar to the House bill, the Senate bill did not alter the existing language that blocks foreign aid to governments that have undergone a coup d’état. The Senate bill will, however, incrementally condition military aid to Egypt based on four good-governance requirements, which can be waived by the President. Meanwhile, the media reports Egypt is buying more U.S. military goods and services under a mechanism called “cash flow financing,” which allows Cairo to enter into agreements for such purchases on the assumption of continued Congressional funding. The Administration also reversed its decision two weeks ago and now will not deliver the four new F-16 fighter jets to Egypt.

The Senate State-Foreign Operations bill also addresses reports that Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s government is imposing taxes on the transport of U.S. property out of Afghanistan. The Senate spending measure includes a provision that will withhold $5 in foreign aid for every dollar in fines Afghanistan imposes.

This Week’s Hearings:

  • Tuesday, July 30: The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense will hold a markup of the FY 2014 Department of Defense Appropriations Bill.
  • Tuesday, July 30: The Senate Armed Services Committee will consider the nominations of Admiral Cecil E.D. Haney, USN, for reappointment to the grade of Admiral and to be Commander of U.S. Strategic Command; and Lieutenant General Curtis Scaparrotti to be General and Commander of U.N. Command/Combined Forces Command/United States Forces Korea.
  • Wednesday, July 31: The House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation will hold a hearing on “How to Improve the Efficiency, Safety, and Security of Maritime Transportation: Better Use and Integration of Maritime Domain Awareness Data.”
  • Wednesday, July 31: The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on “the Rights of Servicemembers, Veterans, and their Families in the Financial Marketplace.”