July 4, 2015 SIGN IN | REGISTER
See photos from the 54th Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game — slideshow sponsored by Grant Thornton LLP.

Defense & Foreign Policy Archive

McCain to Meet with Afghan Leaders During Holiday Troop Visit

Sen. John McCain will celebrate the Fourth of July in Afghanistan in what is becoming an annual holiday tradition for the Senate Armed Services chairman.

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Democrats Pursue a No-Veto Strategy on Spending Bills

President Barack Obama has issued just four vetoes so far in his presidency, and it appears he won't be taking out the veto pen for a host of contentious fiscal 2016 spending bills, either — despite threats he's already lodged on seven of them.

House Scraps NDAA Conference Vote Amid 'Blue Slip' Hang Up

The House and Senate conference on their annual defense policy bill isn't happening. At least not today.

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Armed Services Chairmen Aiming for Conference on NDAA Next Month

The Senate just passed its fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill, but Armed Services Chairman John McCain and his House counterpart, Mac Thornberry, are already saying a compromise can be reached on final legislation within weeks.

Congressional Inaction Leaves Military Installations, Communities Stuck at Crossroads | Commentary

Despite action on the National Defense Authorization Act, the threat of sequestration and military spending cuts remain. Missions are being scaled back, force numbers are declining, and communities, states and regions that have long-served as proud homes to our installations continue to take the economic hits.

Honoring World War II Merchant Marine Veterans | Commentary

A small group of heroes is walking the halls of Congress this week, proudly sharing memories of the work they and friends long gone did more than 70 years ago to help the Allied forces win World War II.

Spike in West Africa Ebola Cases Shows Need to Address Underlying Health Care Needs | Commentary

On May 20, the World Health Organization reported a substantial increase in the weekly total of new Ebola cases in both Guinea and Sierra Leone and responded by deploying a response team. This comes in the shadow of the success in Liberia that was proclaimed to be Ebola-free in May, the result of a comprehensive response by President Barack Obama and his administration to invest in Liberia’s health care infrastructure. Although a lot of the attention to the U.S. response focused on the role of the American military, our response was actually much more thorough. The United States provided personal protective equipment, funded and trained medical workers, deployed laboratories, supported disease tracing and started a large-scale social messaging campaign to inform Liberians about practices to protect themselves from infection.

America Needs to Strengthen Biodefense Now | Commentary

The United Nations Security Council recently heard firsthand testimony from the victims of a chemical-weapons attack in Syria. A Syrian doctor spoke of his frantic efforts to treat more than 100 people who were hit by chlorine-filled bombs in the town of Sarmeen. Many were vomiting and suffering respiratory distress.

Clinton Email Scandal Affects State Department Funding

Democrats are expected to put up a fight in the coming days and weeks over a Republican plan to withhold a substantial amount of the State Department’s operating budget as punishment for the amount of time it is taking the agency to produce the emails of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

NSA Track Record Prompts Senate Skepticism

Senators brushed off Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s concerns about the viability of requiring the National Security Agency to go to the phone companies to get records in terrorism investigations and easily passed the USA Freedom Act last week.

NSA Law Now Faces Test: Will It Really Work?

A crucial moment in the debate this past month over the National Security Agency’s access to Americans’ phone records in terrorism investigations came on May 20, two days before Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tried to squelch House legislation that would restrict that access.

Congress Added $10 Billion Plus Since 9/11 for Secretive National Guard Fund

The equipment for America’s National Guard and Reserve is increasingly funded through an account that contains money not requested by the president, not capped by the budget law and not subject to much open oversight, according to assessments by CQ and the government spending monitors at Taxpayers for Common Sense.

McConnell Defeated With Passage of the USA Freedom Act

Handing Mitch McConnell his biggest legislative defeat since he became majority leader this year, senators voted down all of the Kentuckian’s amendments to Patriot Act reauthorization legislation.

Don't Reward Human Traffickers

The horrors along the Thai-Malaysian border revealed in the past week have shocked our consciences, and put the scourge of human trafficking at the front of international news. In this most recent revelation, 139 graves were discovered at the site of what was virtually a prison camp run by human traffickers. The scene described in news reports included cages for the human victims, and in one painfully poignant image, a single tiny orange slipper — evidence that children had been among them.

Senators Nix $250K in National Guard Paintings

Lawmakers have nixed a series of historical paintings to be commissioned by the National Guard, totaling a quarter million dollars, as part of annual authorizing legislation and amid the Pentagon's argument that the president's proposed defense budget represents the bare minimum that can be spent on national defense in the coming year.

Lawmakers Poised for Fight Over Nuclear Missile Subs

Congress is girding for a showdown over how to pay a looming bill of at least $139 billion for acquiring new nuclear-missile submarines.

Getting the CIA — and Secrecy — Out of the Drone Program | Commentary

President Barack Obama’s disclosure last month of the death of two hostages in a January drone strike offered the public a brief glimpse of the tragic consequences of the government’s clandestine drone killing program. We cannot know how commonplace these kinds of civilian casualties are because of the government’s selective secrecy on the program. But now, Congress has an opportunity to weigh in.

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Sunni Sheikh Comes to Washington Seeking Arms, Aid

Amid the chaos of his home city Ramadi’s fall Sunday to Islamic State fighters, a senior Sunni tribal leader arrived in Washington, D.C., to warn lawmakers and senior administration officials this week of Iran’s growing influence in the war-torn region.

The Senate Must Pass the USA Freedom Act | Commentary

The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, in an extraordinarily well-reasoned decision, ruled that the National Security Agency’s program of systematically collecting the telephone records of Americans is not authorized by Section 215 of the Patriot Act and is, therefore, illegal.

Setting the Record Straight on the Guantanamo Detainee Transfer to Uruguay | Commentary

Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, recently made public a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry expressing security concerns around the December 2014 transfer of six Guantánamo detainees to Uruguay. I have followed this transfer closely, as Uruguay is only the second Latin American country to resettle Guantánamo detainees. Like Royce’s staff, I too traveled to Uruguay and interviewed U.S. and Uruguayan government officials and those helping to resettle the former detainees. But while Royce’s staff saw a potential security threat, I saw a human tragedy.

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