BREAKING NEWS: Defense Budget Release Not Expected Until Mid-March
MONTEREY, Calif. — The Office of Management and Budget has indicated to Congress that the president’s fiscal year 2020 budget request for the Pentagon is expected to be delayed until mid-March, a congressional staffer said Feb. 4.
The 2020 defense budget blueprint was originally slated to be released Feb. 5, but the weeks-long partial government shutdown that lasted from late December to late January threw a wrench into those plans.
The partial shutdown was the result of an ongoing political fight over President Donald Trump’s insistence that the fiscal year 2019 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill include more than $5 billion for a border wall between the United States and Mexico. Democrats have strongly opposed such a move.
A temporary deal was reached to fund DHS — and other agencies that had yet to receive full funding for 2019 — through a continuing resolution until Feb. 15, the next deadline for bipartisan budget negotiations.
Meanwhile, industry and other observers are anxious to see where the Pentagon plans to invest its money in 2020 and the future years defense program.
“We got an email this morning from [the Office of Management and Budget] saying that they are projecting right now to give us the skinny [defense] budget March 12 with full budget documents … on March 18,” John Lucio, a staffer on the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee, said Feb. 4 during a panel discussion at the Tactical Wheeled Vehicles Conference in Monterey, California. The conference is hosted by the National Defense Industrial Association.
T.J. Stapleton, president of Stapleton & Associates, said his organization is currently tracking mid-March as a likely release date. “I don’t see us getting anything sooner,” he said, adding that there was no guarantee that it wouldn’t be pushed back further to a later date.
Lucio said it is rumored that the 2020 defense budget request will be $750 billion, with the base budget close to the Budget Control Act caps and the rest of the money in overseas contingency operations accounts, also known as OCO. In recent years, OCO funding has been used extensively to pay for enduring costs unrelated to ongoing war efforts.
Bruce Hock, vice president of legislative affairs for SAIC Corp., who previously served as a Senate Armed Services Committee staffer, said the 2020 defense budget request could include money for Trump’s promised border wall.
“I heard … there’s going to be money in it for the wall, which is a nonstarter which is just going to further complicate any kind of [defense appropriations] bill to get done this year,” he said.