defense

Senate rejects Paul bid to block arms sales to Bahrain, Qatar

A bid by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., to block arms sales to Qatar and Bahrain fell short on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate on Thursday rejected a bid by Sen. Rand Paul to block arms sales to Qatar and Bahrain even as senators brace for a more contentious debate next week over proposed weapons exports to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The vote Thursday means the proposed sales — a $3 billion Apache Helicopter package for Qatar and a $750 million munitions package to support Bahrain’s F-16 fleet — can go forward.

Panel approves pilot program to take military sexual assault cases outside chain of command
The number of sexual assaults at military service academies more than doubled 2013 to 2018, Speier said

Rep. Jackie Speier succeeded in getting her amendment to establish a program taking prosecution of military sex assault cases outside of the chain of command at the service academies. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Advocates of taking the decision for prosecuting military sexual assaults — a persistent problem within the ranks — outside the chain of command scored a significant victory Wednesday when the House Armed Services Committee approved a pilot program that would do just that at the service academies.

Rep. Jackie Speier, chairwoman of the Military Personnel Subcommittee, pushed through a four-year program that would require the commandants of the service academies to follow the recommendation of an independent prosecutor in cases of sexual assault.

Military bases unprepared for gathering climate change storm 
Responses to hurricanes, flooding already raising alarm bells in Congress and beyond

Months after Hurricane Michael struck Tyndall Air Force Base in October, the main hangar’s roof is badly damaged. (Elvina Nawaguna/CQ Roll Call file photo)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — A mangled red, white and blue patrol plane still lies across what was once a park here where families played and picnicked, nine months after Hurricane Michael stormed out of the Gulf of Mexico with its 155-mile-per-hour winds.

And beyond that wreckage and other detritus, about 300 of this Air Force base’s nearly 500 damaged buildings are slated to be razed. The Air Force wants at least $4.25 billion to rebuild Tyndall at its current location on the Florida panhandle, a process the 325th Fighter Wing commander, Col. Brian Laidlaw, said could take several years.

Border wall, nuclear weapons to spark partisan fight at defense bill debate
House Armed Services to being marathon annual markup on Wednesday

A protester shows support for the border wall at a September 2018 rally at the Capitol. The wall is expected to be a flashpoint at the annual Pentagon policy bill debate Wednesday at the House Armed Services panel. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Adam Smith’s first bill as House Armed Services chairman will surely stir contentious debate during the panel’s markup Wednesday of the annual Pentagon policy bill, a marathon session that is expected to extend into the early morning hours Thursday.

The chairman’s mark — the Washington Democrat’s portion of the massive defense authorization bill — tees up partisan fights on Guantanamo Bay, nuclear weapons and the border wall. It says nothing on President Donald Trump’s proposed Space Force, an issue that Smith said Monday would likely find its way in the bill through a bipartisan amendment.

Democrats’ Spending Bill Strategy
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 113

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., says he'd like to have all 12 spending bills done by the end of June. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats are packaging spending bills with the aim of completing all 12 by the end of the month, a goal that is likely to generate a lot of policy debates and amendments, explains Jennifer Shutt in this episode of the CQ Budget podcast. The first package contains five bills including the two largest, Defense and Labor-HHS-Education.

House Armed Services strikes agreement on Trump’s Space Force
Lawmakers plan to insert it as an amendment to the fiscal 2020 defense authorization bill on Wednesday

A man wearing a Space Force shirt documents the scene before a campaign rally with President Donald Trump at the Bojangles Coliseum on October 26, 2018, in Charlotte, North Carolina. President Trump has made the Space Force a priority, and the House Armed Services Committee has agreed to create a streamlined version of the force. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Democrats and Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee have agreed to language that would create a streamlined Space Force — a top priority of President Donald Trump’s — and plan to insert it as an amendment to the fiscal 2020 defense authorization bill on Wednesday.

The draft version of the bill known as the chairman’s mark did not include language on Space Force, which appeared to indicate that House Armed Services Democrats were not on board with authorizing Space Force in their version of the massive Pentagon policy bill.

Road ahead: House tackles first spending package and NDAA endurance contest
House also set to vote on a ‘not quite contempt’ resolution Tuesday

A man stands near the Mountains and Clouds sculpture in the Hart Building atrium on June 4. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House has blockbuster floor action teed up this week, including votes on the first spending package for fiscal 2020 and a measure that would authorize the Judiciary Committee to pursue civil lawsuits against Attorney General William Barr and other administration officials.

House lawmakers have been warned that late-night votes are on the schedule as they work through floor consideration of a five-bill package that amounts to about $990 billion in discretionary spending for fiscal 2020.

Democrats want to require Pentagon to study climate change risks on military bases
It’s the latest effort by House Democrats to scrutinize and quantify the challenges a warming planet poses to the military

Colorado Rep. Jason Crow, center, wants to include language in the NDAA bill that would require the Pentagon to more aggressively study the risks posed to its bases by climate change. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats will seek to include in the proposed National Defense Authorization Act language that would require the Pentagon to more aggressively study the risks posed to its bases by climate change, their latest effort to scrutinize and quantify the challenges a warming planet poses to the military.

Colorado Rep. Jason Crow unveiled a summary of the measure Thursday, saying it will be included in the chairman’s mark to be offered by Washington Rep. Adam Smith, who leads the House Armed Services Committee that takes up the bill June 12.

Bipartisan Senate group seeks to block Saudi arms sales as Trump administration tries to avoid congressional review
Top Democrat on Foreign Relations Menendez formally announces 22 separate disapproval measures

Foreign Relations ranking member Robert Menendez, D-N.J., right, is leading a bipartisan effort to push back on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's use of an emergency declaration for arms sales to Saudi Arabia. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Bipartisanship is breaking out in the Senate to push back on yet another emergency declaration from the Trump administration.

This time, the rebuttal comes over announced arms sales, including to Saudi Arabia, under the auspices of an emergency declaration from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Dems pounce on GOP tariffs civil war and other takeaways from Trump‘s UK visit
Under Trump, U.S. is ‘standing around not doing much,’ former VP Biden says on trail

President Donald Trump inspects a honor guard at Buckingham Palace on Monday. He concluded a three-day state visit on Wednesday, making plenty of news along the way. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS - President Donald Trump ended his U.K. visit Wednesday in an uncharacteristic manner, sitting silently before the television cameras during an unplanned meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The moment offered a juxtaposition to his full-throated, unapologetic three days on British soil.

“The two leaders sat, smiling at the pool without saying a word,” wrote a reporter who was in Portsmouth, England, where the two leaders met briefly during a reception following a ceremony commemorating the 75th anniversary of World War II’s D-Day invasion.