Afghanistan

Opinion: Meet the Deficit Doves
Deficit hawks soar like a rock

Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., once could be counted among the GOP’s deficit hawks. Has he become a different kind of bird? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Do you remember the deficit hawks of the last decade, that breed of budget cutter so single-minded and focused on reducing, rather than growing, government debts and deficits that you knew what they were going to say before they said it?

Military spending needed a pay-for. Medicare Part D? Too expensive. For every legislative idea their congressional colleagues cooked up to solve a problem, the deficit hawks rightly pointed out that spending money the country doesn’t have is itself a problem, especially without a plan to reduce spending in the out years.

Budget Proposal Funds Latest Pentagon Strategy
‘Long-term strategic competitions with China and Russia are the principal priorities for the Department’

Aerial view of the Pentagon building photographed on Sept. 24, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration is seeking to give the Defense Department as much money as Congress can appropriate for fiscal year 2019 to fund the Pentagon’s newest strategy and to fulfill President Donald Trump’s repeated promise to rebuild the military.

The Pentagon request released Monday claims to align with the Pentagon’s recently released National Defense Strategy, which elevates the possibility of great power conflict with Russia and China as the country’s greatest security concern, eclipsing terrorism.

Active-Duty Candidates Can Run — But Can They Campaign?
Even Matt Reel’s staff doesn’t know where he’s deployed

Matt Reel is running for Congress. But he’s also on active duty. (Screen Shot/Matt Reel for Congress/YouTube)

Matt Reel is running for Congress. But he can’t campaign until June — two months before Tennessee’s August primary.

Even if his staff knew where he is — which they don’t — and even if he had time while overseas, Reel can’t legally communicate with them about campaign strategy for his 7th District race while he’s on active duty.

Democrats Rain on Trump’s Military Parade
Army veteran Walz: ‘Stupidest thing I’ve ever heard’

Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., said the idea of a military parade is “the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic members of Congress criticized reports that President Donald Trump had directed the military to plan for a parade in Washington, D.C. 

Trump reportedly told the Pentagon he wanted a parade similar to the one in France he witnessed on Bastille Day. 

First-Term Presidents and State of the Union Big Asks
One year in, what presidents ask for when their party controls Congress

President Donald Trump will outline his priorities to a Congress controlled by his fellow Republicans during his State of the Union address on Tuesday. That’s a fairly rare thing for presidents. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

U.S. presidents rarely get the luxury of starting their terms with their own political party in charge of Congress, something that enables both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue to think big.

For those who do, it’s not rare to hear them ask for big things in the State of the Union address ahead of their first congressional midterms. Nor is it rare for them to have such big thoughts crash to earth in November, when the president’s party usually takes a beating. 

The Army’s Ryan McCarthy Pulls the Plug on Bad Acquisitions
“We’re not informed enough,” undersecretary says

Ryan McCarthy, the Army’s undersecretary since August, says his motto is “fail early, fail cheap.” (Courtesy Under Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy/Facebook)

There’s something different about the Army these days. In a word, it is humility.

The service does not have a flagship new weapon in the works, only minor modifications to existing systems. Its recent efforts to develop costly hardware have flopped. Its acquisition budget, relative to the Air Force and Navy, is expected to decline in the next decade. U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan now number in the thousands, not the scores of thousands.

Shutdown Effects Would Hit Agencies Differently
Some departments will have more employees at work than others

OMB Director Mick Mulvaney said Friday that a shutdown might not be as painful as in 2013. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Federal departments and agencies were gearing up for the possibility that a shutdown would actually take place, with Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney putting the odds at about 50-50 Friday morning.

The effects across the government would vary from agency to agency, in part because they have different levels of available funding and transfer authority, but Mulvaney said a partial shutdown starting Saturday would in some ways not resemble the one in 2013.

Trump: ‘Deep State’ DOJ ‘Must Finally Act’ Against Abedin, Comey
President begins new year with tweets attacking domestic, global foes

Long-time Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin is seen backstage before a Clinton campaign rally at North Carolina State University in November 2016. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images file photo)

The Justice Department “must finally act” against a longtime senior aide to Hillary Clinton and former FBI Director James Comey, President Donald Trump tweeted, his latest fiery social media post to kick off 2018.

Trump and his team have an ambitious agenda for the new year, especially considering more than 400 House seats and 30 Senate seats are up for grabs in just 11 months. But the president on Tuesday focused his morning tweets at his domestic political and geopolitical foes.

Tax Bill Becomes Law as Trump Heads to Mar-a-Lago
President secures legislative win as he closes out 2017 at White House

President Donald Trump signed a tax overhaul and stopgap government funding bill into law on Friday. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Donald Trump secured his first major legislative victory as president Friday, signing a sweeping Republican tax measure into law as he closed out a turbulent 2017 at the White House.

After a raucous celebration with Republican lawmakers Wednesday on the White House’s South Portico — during which senior GOP members lavished him with effusive praise — Trump opted to sign the bill in the Oval Office rather than hold another signing ceremony.

Trump Signs Stopgap to Avert Christmas Shutdown
President, lawmakers punt tough decisions into late January

Protesters, mostly federal workers, hold up signs at the Capitol in October 2013 urging Congress to end a government shutdown. Congress and President Donald Trump averted another one this week by agreeing on another short-term continuing resolution. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There will be no government shutdown on Christmas Day.

With just more than 12 hours to spare, President Donald Trump on Friday signed a four-week government funding bill into law. It sets up a potentially bruising battle between Republicans and Democrats over a slew of hot-button issues next month.