Senate to Resume Consideration of Defense Authorization on Monday

November 30, 2012

Government Relations Update - Defense

This morning, the Senate completed its third day of work on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2013. The Senate is likely to resume consideration of amendments to the NDAA on Monday afternoon. Overall, the bill would allocate $631.4 billion in discretionary funds for defense activities, $525.8 billion for the base Defense Department budget, $88.2 billion for the war in Afghanistan, and $17.4 billion for Department of Energy and other national security programs related to nuclear safety. There are various procedural hurdles and a large number of amendments that are still likely to be considered and final passage of the bill is now not likely until Tuesday. Yesterday the White House threatened to veto the bill over objections to its provisions relating to terror detainees, biofuel restrictions, and perceived constraints on the ability of the armed forces to carry out military missions. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) posted a statement of Administration policy detailing its position, saying that President Obama will sign the bill if it is modified to respond the Administration’s concerns.

On Thursday night, the Senate adopted an amendment (#3018), offered by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) that would prohibit indefinite detention of U.S. citizens or permanent residents without trial. Earlier in the week, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) agreed to release his hold on the NDAA with the condition that the Senate agree to consider the Feinstein amendment. The amendment will likely face strong opposition during conference negotiations from Republicans in both chambers.

Also of note, the Senate unanimously adopted an amendment that would that would bar all transactions with Iran’s energy, shipping and shipbuilding sectors, as well as its ports, and would ban the sale of certain materials to Iran, including graphite, aluminum, steel and metallurgical coal.

Sequestration Watch

EADS North America CEO Sean O’Keefe said this week that the company, one of the leading defense and military contractors in the world, will notify its 2,000 U.S. employees early next year that layoffs are likely to occur if Congress does not reach a deal to avert sequestration. EADS North America sent an initial layoff warning to its employees last month, and the company emphasized that the notices will be sent company-wide and are not official WARN Act notices.

Defense industry executives have been unusually quiet post-election, perhaps signaling confidence that sequestration will be delayed. As the January 2, 2013 sequestration date draws closer, all eyes are on the closed-door negotiations taking place between Republicans and Democrats. Lockheed Martin CEO Bob Stevens, one of the defense industry’s most vocal executives about the negative effects of sequestration, said this week, “We don’t think the onset [of sequestration] will be abrupt. We think it would be actually be very gradual throughout 2013.” Stevens had previously indicated to the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) that sequestration would have an immediate and devastating effect on the defense industrial base. Also making news at the Credit Suisse Aerospace and Defense Conference, the Pentagon’s Comptroller Robert Hale and its Chief Acquisitions officer Frank Kendall, each told defense industry investors that contracts that are already signed would generally be safe, even if sequestration takes effect. He added that he is “cautiously optimistic” that a deal will be reached to avert sequestration before the end of the year. \ 

House Republicans Select Committee Chairs

The House Steering Committee announced its recommendations for chairmanships in the 113th Congress on Tuesday, November 27th, and the full Republican caucus ratified those selections the following day, Wednesday, November 28th. House Democrats are expected to finalize their full-committee ranking members sometime next week. The House chairmen in the 113th Congress are:

  • Agriculture – Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK)
  • Appropriations – Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY)
  • Armed Services – Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA)
  • Budget – Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)
  • Education and the Workforce – Rep. John Kline (R-MN)
  • Energy and Commerce – Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI)
  • Financial Services – Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX)
  • Foreign Affairs – Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA)
  • Homeland Security – Rep. Mike McCaul (R-TX)
  • Intelligence – Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI)
  • Judiciary – Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
  • Natural Resources – Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA)
  • Oversight and Government Reform – Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA)
  • Rules – Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX)
  • Science, Space, and Technology – Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX)
  • Small Business – Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO)
  • Transportation and Infrastructure – Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA)
  • Veterans’ Affairs – Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL)
  • Ways and Means – Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI)

Next Week on Capitol Hill

Modernizing Veterans Records
House Veterans' Affairs - Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs
Subcommittee Hearing
Dec. 4, 2 p.m., 334 Cannon Bldg.

Iranian Regional Influence
House Foreign Affairs - Subcommittee on Europe and Eurasia
Subcommittee Hearing
Dec. 5, 2 p.m., 2172 Rayburn Bldg.

Ongoing Intelligence Activities
House Select Intelligence Committee
Full Committee Hearing
Dec. 6, 9 a.m., HVC-304 Capitol Visitor Center

Quote of the Week

“This is not unique to this company or any individual program. If sequestration happens, it’s going to happen to everybody with equal vengeance, stupidity and exactititude.”

EADS North America CEO Sean O’Keefe in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Conversations With Judy Woodruff” on November 22, 2012.