DEFENSE UBER

Podcast: House Republicans Ignore Trump on Budget
Budget Tracker Extra, Episode 23

Eric Ueland, Republican Staff Director for the Senate Budget Committee, hands out copies of President Trump's FY2018 Budget in Dirksen Building on May 23, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Even as a budget agreement remains elusive for Congress, House lawmakers have reached a couple of decisions: a significant funding boost for defense and around $511 billion for all else—largely ignoring President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget request, say’s CQ’s Budget Tracker editor David Lerman.

Show Notes:

Coons: Senate Can Reassert Foreign Policy Clout
Chance to ‘make the Senate great again’

Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., suggests that the Trump Administration’s conflicting statements provide the Senate with an opportunity to reassert its clout on foreign policy matters.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Trump administration’s often conflicting statements regarding foreign affairs have provided the Senate an opportunity to reassert its clout in directing U.S. foreign policy, Sen. Chris Coons suggests. 

In a public sit-down conversation with former Sec. of State Madeleine Albright on U.S. global leadership this week, the Delaware Democrat said that “one unexpected outcome of the Trump administration may be to make the Senate great again” by forcing the chamber to draft bipartisan legislation to fill the gaps the Trump administration leaves.

House GOP Still Bickering Over Budget
Defense increase, mandatory spending cuts primary areas of disagreement

Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent says Republicans should not waste time arguing over topline levels for nondefense discretionary spending since those will likely be raised in the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republican squabbling over a defense spending increase and mandatory spending cuts continues to put in danger a fiscal 2018 budget resolution, and subsequently, plans to overhaul the tax code.

After a Friday conference meeting to discuss the budget and appropriations process, their second “family conversation” of the week on the topic, the House GOP appeared no closer to consensus on a budget resolution that could get the 218 needed votes on the floor.

In the House, Full Speed Ahead on Defense Spending

House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, wants to increase defense spending. It might not be that simple. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry says he is “moving forward” to mark up a fiscal 2018 defense authorization bill the week before the Independence Day recess at about $705 billion.

But, the Texas Republican said, talks are ongoing among senior lawmakers and it is “possible” there could be “some adjustment” to that amount.

Air Force Opposes Creation of Space Corps
‘Pentagon is complicated enough,’ Air Force secretary says

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, center, says the military is complicated enough without having a dedicated Space Corps. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Air Force leaders on Wednesday pushed back on a House Armed Services panel’s plan to build a new fighting force dedicated to space.

“The Pentagon is complicated enough,” Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told reporters following her testimony in front of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. “This will make it more complex, add more boxes to the organization chart and cost more money. If I had more money, I would put it into lethality, not bureaucracy.”

GOP Frets About Fiscal Restraint Progress
Conservatives pushing cuts to mandatory spending

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan says Republicans are still discussing options for the budget and appropriations process, even as conservatives are pushing for steep cuts to mandatory spending. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Fiscal restraint has long been part of the Republican Party’s brand, but GOP lawmakers have made little progress on reducing the amount of money the federal government spends. And frankly, they’re sick of it.

That’s the impetus for what has become a serious push by rank-and-file House Republicans to use the budget reconciliation process to enact mandatory spending cuts.

House GOP Undecided on Spending Path
Speaker says Republicans still having ‘family conversation’

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., says Republicans are still at the 'family conversation' level of figuring out the appropriations process. Also appearing are, from left, Reps. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Glenn Thompson, R-Pa.. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

With a little more than seven legislative weeks before the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, House Republicans still do not have a consensus on the process for funding the government, fueling some discontent in the conference. 

“We haven’t decided exactly how we’re going to go about our appropriations process in this first year, but we’re going to move together on consensus,” Speaker Paul D. Ryan told reporters after the Republican conference met Wednesday morning.

Embattled AG Sessions Gets Vote of Confidence from Pence
VP: Trump administration trying to ‘make this country safe again’

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, center, is seen with Vice President Mike Pence, second from left, and senators in the Capitol’s Old Senate Chamber in February. On Wednesday, Pence said he and President Trump are “proud” to have the former Alabama senator as attorney general. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday gave a vote of confidence to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who is engulfed in the Russia controversy hovering over the Trump presidency.

The VP hailed Sessions as a “law and order attorney general,” and said he and Trump are “proud to have him on our side.”

Opinion: Jon Ossoff and the New Breed of Yellow Dog Democrats
How politics in a onetime Southern GOP stronghold have changed

By the kind of campaign he ran in Georgia’s 6th District, Jon Ossoff is emblematic of a New Southern Democrat, Murphy writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. — It’s Election Day in Georgia, so this column goes to print before we know the outcome of the 6th District special election to replace Dr. Tom Price in Congress. But whether Karen Handel, the Republican, pulls off a win or Jon Ossoff, the Democrat, manages an upset, it is well-understood here that the politics of this once solidly Republican district have changed, almost overnight.

The fact that Ossoff became so competitive, so quickly in this race was almost entirely because of Donald Trump. Trump was certainly the reason Democratic activists across the country pumped $20 million into a district where the biggest tourist attraction is a giant red chicken in front of a vintage KFC. Trump was also the reason countless Ossoff volunteers told me they were working for him “because at least it is something I could do” after Trump won in November.

Taiwan Officials Eyeing Republican Plan for Tax Code Overhaul
Changes seen as potential investment boon

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., may have an attentive audience among Taiwanese investors when he’s talking about giving the U.S. tax code a makeover. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

 

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan reaffirmed Tuesday Congressional Republicans’ intention to give the U.S. tax code a makeover. Among those listening with keen interest to Ryan’s announcement?