Defense & Cyberspace

Jimmy Panetta Takes a Hard Line on Military Spending
Son of Defense secretary represents Monterey County

Rep. Jimmy Panetta, left, was sworn in to Congress alongside his father, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, also a former member of the House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When the House approved the $577.9 billion fiscal 2017 defense spending bill on March 8, only 48 members — including four freshmen — voted against it. It’s politically difficult to vote against a measure that pays for the weapons U.S. forces need and supplies the funds for a 2.1 percent pay increase for Americans in uniform.

One of the freshmen was Jimmy Panetta, the youngest of former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s three children. He explained that he opposed the bill because it did not spend enough. “It could have done more to help my area on the central coast of California,” Panetta says.

Pentagon Leaders Say Soft Power Central to ISIS Strategy
Mattis, Dunford pitch appropriators on supplemental funding proposal

Defense Secretary James Mattis says soft power is key to defeating terrorists abroad. ( Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Pentagon leaders on Wednesday stressed the importance of diplomacy in the fight against the Islamic State but sidestepped questions from Senate appropriators about the Trump administration’s proposed 29 percent cut to the State Department and other foreign operations accounts in fiscal 2018.

Defense Secretary James Mattis and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford pitched lawmakers on the military’s $30 billion request for supplemental funding for fiscal 2017, as well as the planned $54 billion boost to defense accounts proposed for next year, arguing that military readiness has been depleted after 16 years of war.

Cummings: Nunes Should be Investigated for Trump Revelations
Ranking Democrat on Oversight Committee says intel chairman ‘scuttled’ investigation

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., gave President Donald Trump information that should not have been revealed. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Elijah Cummings suggested on Thursday that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes should be investigated for revealing that President Donald Trump’s campaign associates may have been caught up in a surveillance net.

Cummings, D-Md., the ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said Nunes, R-Calif., acted inappropriately when he revealed publicly Wednesday that he had reviewed intelligence reports that had “nothing to do with” the Trump campaign or Russia but did show intelligence agencies had collected information about the campaign.

Trump Claims Vindication on Surveillance News
But information was collected legally, according to top Republican

House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, makes his way from the committee’s offices to the microphones to hold a news conference in the Capitol. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump expressed a sense of vindication Wednesday after House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes said that Trump campaign associates may have been caught up in a surveillance net.

“I somewhat do. I must tell you I somewhat do. I very much appreciated the fact that they found what they found, I somewhat do,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

Full-Year CR Threatens Military Training, Hawks Say
Thornberry: “All but one deploying Army unit will cease training after July 15th”

House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, participates in House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's media availability with the Chairman's Task Force on Counterterrorism and Homeland Security in the Capitol on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The U.S. armed forces will see training severely curtailed if the continuing resolution funding the federal government is extended for the rest of the fiscal year, a leading lawmaker warned Wednesday.

Texas Republican Mac Thornberry, chairman of House Armed Services, said at a press breakfast that he has asked the military services what the effect would be of a full-year CR. He said he had not heard from all of them but offered a few startling examples.

Chances of Change to Defense Spending Caps Falling
Troubles confront Trump budget proposal to lift defense limits

Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky., a veteran appropriator, is dubious of the proposed changes to the budget.. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican appropriators appear increasingly skeptical about President Donald Trump's eye-popping proposed changes to fiscal 2017 spending levels, including nondefense spending cuts, a proposed $30 billion defense supplemental and a $3 billion border security supplemental.

Lawmakers said in interviews that it looks increasingly unlikely that GOP lawmakers will propose — let alone pass — the needed changes to budget law to allow for Trump’s request to increase the fiscal 2017 defense cap by $25 billion and reduce the nondefense cap by $15 billion. The reductions in nondefense, which were not specified by Trump, likely would require some major, nearly immediate cuts in federal agency budgets.

NSC Official: Trump May Abandon Goal of Nuclear Disarmament

A United States Trident II (D-5) missile underwater launch. (Wikimedia Commons/Public domain)

This story originally appeared on CQ.com.

A senior administration official on Tuesday said the White House will review whether to back away from longstanding U.S. policy of nuclear disarmament while embarking on the process of updating the country’s nuclear arsenal.

$30 Billion Defense Supplemental Duplicates Spending
Pentagon might not need full request from Trump

Trump, left, wants Congress to pass a supplemental spending bill for defense programs that the Pentagon might not need. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Pentagon may not really need the full $30 billion President Donald Trump requested last week for the current fiscal year.

That’s because Congress is already poised to provide a significant portion of the $30 billion in the fiscal 2017 Defense spending bill that the House passed on March 8. So that portion of the supplemental is redundant, congressional and Pentagon officials confirmed to CQ Roll Call.

GOP Warns Comey About Cloud Over Trumpland
White House continues to push allegation of wiretapping

FBI Director James B. Comey, center, and National Security Agency Director Michael S. Rogers arrive to testify at the House Intelligence Committee hearing on Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump’s top spokesman wants the world to “take no for an answer” on whether there was collusion between Russian officials and the former reality television star’s presidential campaign, even while the House Intelligence Committee chairman says “a big gray cloud” is hanging over Trump’s associates in the form of an FBI investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

“There is a big gray cloud that you have put over people who have very important work to do to lead this country. The faster you can get to the bottom of this, it’s going to be better for all Americans,” California Republican Devin Nunes said to FBI Director James B. Comey at the conclusion of a nearly six-hour hearing on the intelligence community’s conclusion that Moscow directed a campaign to disrupt the election and help Trump win the White House.

Trump Defense Boost Would Mean Big Gains for Some States
Democrats likely to hold line for parity with nondefense programs

Brian Schatz, whose state of Hawaii is the No. 3 recipient of per-capita defense spending, says there must be parity in domestic spending to go with any boost to national security programs. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A request from the Trump administration for a double-digit increase in defense spending could be largely decided by lawmakers whose states are far from equal players when it comes to the benefits of a bigger military budget.

That’s long been the case, as geographic, historic and strategic differences across the country result in more of an economic boost in certain states. But the differences are even more starkly displayed in a new Pew Charitable Trusts analysis that shows the funding split across all 50 states and the District of Columbia on a per-capita basis.

Comey Confirms FBI Investigating Trump Campaign Ties to Russia
FBI director says he has no information to support Trump’s Obama wiretap claims

Comey, left, confirmed for the first time that the FBI is conducting a counterintelligence probe into Russia’s role in the 2016 election.(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

FBI Director James Comey said Monday for the first time that the bureau is conducting a counterintelligence investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. elections, including any ties between the 2016 campaign of now-President Donald Trump and Moscow.

As for Trump’s tweets that President Barack Obama ordered wiretapping of Trump Tower, Comey said, “I have no information that supports those tweets.”

Trump Defiant on Alleged Phone Tapping, Upbeat on Health Bill
POTUS: Efforts to get House GOP health care votes going beautifully

Trump holds a joint press conference with Merkel in the East Room of the White House on Friday. He appeared to repeat his claim that for President Obama tapped his phones, and said Republicans are coming together around a health care overhaul bill. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

An ever-defiant President Donald Trump on Friday doubled down on his claim that Barack Obama’s administration tapped his phones, telling German Chancellor Angela Merkel the duo might both be victims of Obama-led spying.

“As far as wiretapping, at least we have something in common, perhaps,” Trump quipped in the ornate East Room. The U.S. and German journalists, staff members and dignitaries responded with laughter — and some gasps.

Ep. 45: House Russia Inquiry Goes Public With FBI, NSA
The Week Ahead

In a highly anticipated hearing, the House Intelligence Committee's investigation of Russia's election meddling makes its public debut with lawmakers set to press the directors of the FBI and the NSA about the Kremlin's interference operation and potential ties with the Trump campaign, says CQ Roll Call's intelligence reporter Ryan Lucas. Listen in for details.

Opinion: This Budget Isn’t Dead on Arrival
Trump’s budget draws the battle lines between the parties

A president’s budget sets the tone, direction and parameters of the debate over government operations and Republicans in Congress will be hard-pressed to go against a president of their own party, Allen writes. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Every year, Congress affixes the same toe tag to the White House budget within minutes of its delivery: “Dead on Arrival.”

The phrase is such a cliche, and so often repeated by members of Congress who dislike the president’s numbers, that it’s hard to find a news story about each year’s budget that doesn’t include those three words. It’s also discounted as just a “blueprint,” “a political document” or a “proposal” written for disposal. When I was a budget reporter for CQ, and at other publications, these were my watchwords.

House Intel Seeks Clarity From Comey on Wiretap Claims
Lawmakers want answers on investigation into Russian meddling, surveillence

Nunes, right, and Schiff, left, will hold a public hearing on the panel’s widespread investigation on Russia. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Intelligence Committee members are looking for FBI Director James Comey to put an “exclamation point” on Monday to unfounded claims made by President Donald Trump alleging the Republican president was wiretapped by his Democratic predecessor.

The panel will hold its first public hearing on a widespread investigation into Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election last year.