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Senate Panel Rejects New BRAC Round

A Senate panel has rejected a Pentagon request to open a new round of base closures.

A Senate panel has rejected a Pentagon request to open a new round of base closures.

The Senate Armed Services readiness subcommittee has voted to deny the Pentagon’s request to start a new Base Realignment and Closure commission to shutter what the Department of Defense calls excess facilitates.

As part of the Pentagon’s $526.6 billion budget request, the DoD requested permission to close additional bases in a cost savings measure. The Pentagon asked for $2.4 billion to be spent over five years to begin a new round of BRAC.

Senators said the cost for a new BRAC round would be too high to justify the expense. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) said estimates for the last round of BRAC in 2005 were $13 billion over proposed costs.

“To put that in perspective, that’s three fewer nuclear submarines or seven fewer destroyers for our undersized Navy fleet,” Ayotte said according to an Associated Press report.

“The House and Senate refusals effectively ensure that a final defense policy bill approved by Congress for the 2014 fiscal year won’t give the department permission to close excess bases even as lawmakers clamor for ways to cut the federal deficit,” wrote the AP.

Base closures are among the most sensitive political topics in Congress and politically unpopular in districts in with a military presence.

In late May, a combined group of four D.C.-based think tanks called for a new BRAC round in addition to increased cuts in military personnel.