Congress passes FY2011 Defense Authorization bill

Congress passes FY2011 Defense Authorization bill

Congress approved the FY2011 Defense Authorization (H.R. 6523) bill, in one of its last actions before adjourning.  The House had passed the compromise agreement last Friday and today the Senate amended the House bill to remove a provision relating to payments of World War II claims on Guam.  The House quickly approved the amended bill.  It now goes to the President for signature.  According to a Senate Armed Services Committee summary of the bill, it authorizes $548.2  billion for the FY2011 base DoD budget and $158.7 billion for overseas contingency operations in FY2011.   However, this does not mean that these amounts can be spent because the Congress has not yet passed a final FY2011 appropriations bill.  DoD is operating under a FY2011 Continuing Resolution (CR) until March 4, 2011 and spending levels are governed by the CR until a final appropriations bill is passed next year.  The bill authorizes a 1.4 percent military pay raise and reauthorizes military special pays and bonuses.  And, in a move that may please military retirees, the bill allows early payment when the first of the month falls on a weekend.  The final bill includes a number of provisions that affect the DoD contracting.  It requires the review and evaluation of contractor business systems and enhances DoD’s ability to act against contractors that have jeopardized the health and safety of federal workers.  Further, the bill requires the annual assessment of price trends for DoD purchases to identify unjustified price escalation and the development of a process to define requirements for government  services.

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