DEFENSE UBER

Opinion: Women Played a Key Role in Harassment Bill
In the #MeToo era, some lawmakers may be scurrying for cover

Rep. Susan Brooks, R-Ind., describes legislation aimed at helping victims of harassment on the Hill as “some of the most important work” she’ll ever do in the House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When people talk about women running for office, we hear a lot about numbers. X-number of women are running. Women make up y-percent of Congress or elected officials. When x and y are equal, then we’ll finally see a difference in our government.

But beyond the numbers, if you really want to see the difference it makes to have women from both parties at the table when legislation is drafted, look no further than the bill introduced last week to finally begin to change the way sexual harassment has been dealt with in Capitol Hill offices since the Congressional Accountability Act passed in 1995.

Shutdown Ended, but Democrats Still Have Leverage Over Budget Caps
Sequester-mandated cuts still have to be resolved

From left, Colorado Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Illinois Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez and Delaware Sen. Chris Coons talk in Russell Building on Monday after the Senate voted to end debate on a continuing resolution to reopen the government. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 9:20 p.m. | Even though Congress has voted to reopen the government after a brief shutdown, House Democratic leaders, who didn’t sign off on the deal their Senate counterparts helped negotiate, plan to continue their push on immigration and spending issues with a key leverage point: the budget caps.

The House on Monday evening quickly passed a stopgap funding bill that will reopen the government through Feb. 8 by a 266-150 vote, sending the bill to President Donald Trump, who signed the continuing resolution that night. 

Senate Passes Three-Week CR to Reopen Federal Government

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., leaves the Senate floor in the Capitol after the chamber passed a continuing resolution to reopen the government on Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate voted 81-18 to pass a continuing resolution running through Feb. 8 on Monday afternoon, sending it back to the House as Day Three of the partial government shutdown dragged on.

The House is expected to clear the stopgap for President Donald Trump’s signature, ending the shutdown in time for federal workers to return to their offices Tuesday morning. A number of House Democrats appear likely to back the measure after opposing a previous version last week, and top Democrats predicted the CR would be passed this time.

Group Backed by Liberal George Soros Posts Uptick in Lobbying
Open Society Policy Center spent record $16.1 million in 2017

Billionaire George Soros, left, attends a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing in November 2008. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Open Society Policy Center, the lobbying arm of liberal billionaire George Soros’ philanthropic network, reported spending a record sum to influence federal issues during the first year of the Trump administration.

The group disclosed spending a total of $16.1 million on federal lobbying in 2017, with the majority of that coming in the last three months of the year, according to a report filed with Congress. The Soros group disclosed spending $10.3 million in the fourth quarter.

House Democrats Not Whipping Shutdown Vote
Despite opposition from some in minority, enough votes are likely there in chamber

The Capitol Visitor Center, usually full of tourists, sits empty on Monday, Jan. 22, 2018, as negotiations to reopen the government continue. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Democratic leaders are not whipping the stopgap spending bill to reopen the government through Feb. 8, freeing members to vote how they wish, members and aides said Monday.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said earlier Monday she’ll be voting “no” and Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., was expected to follow suit. Their opposition is not likely to change the outcome, though, barring a mass change of heart from Republicans. 

Senate Breaks Shutdown Logjam and Advances Three-Week CR
Chamber votes 81-18 to end debate on short-term stopgap measure

Hill staffers and others wait in a long line to enter the Dirksen Building on Monday. Only certain doors to office buildings were open while Congress worked to end the government shutdown. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate on Monday cleared a key procedural hurdle to advance a three-week stopgap funding measure, signaling a likely end to the three-day government shutdown.

The chamber voted 81-18 to end debate on the short-term continuing resolution.

Pentagon Strategy Outstrips Its Budget Process
After slow staff-up, Defense Department is trying to make up for lost time

The Pentagon will be waiting another budget year to fully match its strategy to its fiscal requests.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Pentagon is churning out a frenzy of strategy documents that bolster President Donald Trump’s calls for a massive — and pricey — military buildup that includes new weaponry and more troops. The department’s own budget process, however, has not yet caught up.

On Friday, the Defense Department rolled out the National Defense Strategy, coming on the heels of the National Security Strategy and a leaked draft of the Nuclear Posture Review. These documents detail policies that come with hefty price tags, such as surpassing China and Russia in fiercely competitive areas like cyberspace and outer space.

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.

Opinion: As Military Budget Grows, Civil-Military Divide Remains
Current defense policies risk alienating servicemembers and potential recruits

A boy sits on his veteran father’s shoulders during the New York City Veterans Day Parade on Nov. 11, 2016. Interest in military service is dropping among American youth. (Michael Loccisano/Getty Images file photo)

The most important resource for America’s military isn’t money. It’s the men and women who volunteer to serve.

But current defense policies risk alienating those very people who are now in the military and those we hope will join in the future.

Actor Playing Nixon and Wallace Hears Echoes in Trump
Cameron Folmar plays two ‘tragic‘ politicians in Arena Stage’s ‘The Great Society’

Richard Nixon’s presidential foibles are dramatized in “The Great Society” at the Arena Stage. (Courtesy the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum)

Actor Cameron Folmar is having a tough time studying to play both Richard Nixon and George Wallace onstage in the age of Trump.

“I can come home sometimes feeling pretty yucky in a way that surprises me. It’s kind of surprising that it affects me that way,” Folmar said.