Defense & Cyberspace

Navy routinely buys defective ships
Former shipbuilding executive: “There’s an old adage: ‘A ship so nice, we built it twice’”

The newest Littoral Combat Ship, the USS St. Louis, is launched in Wisconsin in December. The LCS class has been bogged down by defects. (Courtesy U.S. Navy)

For the U.S. Navy, buying warships that are defective, unfinished or both has become the norm.

The habit is expensive, dangerous and leaves overworked sailors to deal with faulty ships in need of repair from day one — yet it has escaped sufficient scrutiny in Washington.

Trump, Brazil’s Bolsonaro flaunt nationalist bromance
‘There’s zero hostility with me,’ the U.S. contrarian in chief says of Brazil

U.S. President Donald Trump and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro leave after a joint news conference at the White House Rose Garden on Tuesday. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS — President Donald Trump got his desired victory lap Tuesday with the Brazilian known as the “Trump of the Tropics” as they stood side by side in the White House Rose Garden in a full display of the nationalism that put both in office.

Hours earlier, in true Trump fashion, he had flashed his contrarian side as he and his Brazilian counterpart, Jair Bolsonaro, sat together in the Oval Office.

Trump warns Venezuela with new sanctions, won’t rule out military action
Trump spoke in a joint Rose Garden press conference with new Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro

President Donald Trump (R) and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (L) shake hands during a joint news conference at the Rose Garden of the White House March 19, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump is hosting President Bolsonaro for a visit and bilateral talks at the White House today. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he may impose new strict sanctions on Venezuela in another attempt to force President Nićolas Maduro from office.

“I’m not being told any specific time,” Trump said on how long Maduro might hold on. But he did predict a “change” is ahead.

How Congress might rewrite Trump’s budget
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 103

Copies of President Donald Trump’s budget for Fiscal Year 2020 are prepared for distribution at the Government Publishing Office in Washington. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Appropriations may start markups in April
Markups have to begin in April or May at the latest to have any chance of bills passing on the floor in June

Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., chair of the House Appropriations Committee walks across the Capitol from the House side for a meeting with House and Senate appropriators in an effort to revive spending talks and avert a second shutdown on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey and Democratic appropriators are looking at starting fiscal 2020 markups as soon as late April with the Defense, Labor-HHS-Education and Legislative Branch bills, people familiar with the process said.

The Military Construction-VA and Energy-Water bills also are on tap to be among the first five bills marked up, as part of an effort to begin advancing bills across the floor in June.

Trump overshadows Brazilian president’s visit by attacking Kellyanne Conway’s husband
President dubs George Conway a ‘total loser’ after attorney challenged Trump’s mental health

Kellyanne Conway speaks to the press outside of the White House on the North Lawn. President Trump and her husband, George Conway, are in the midst of a Twitter feud. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A number of foreign leaders have visited the White House in recent weeks with little fanfare, but President Donald Trump’s aides are setting big expectations for Tuesday’s visit by the “Trump of the Tropics.”

Yet, on what White House officials hope will be a paradigm-shifting day, Trump and his team got an early start on stepping on their own intended message about “fundamentally” overhauling relations with South America’s largest economy.

Rep. Devin Nunes says he’s suing Twitter, parody account pretending to be his mom
California congressman is seeking more than $250 million for emotional distress and damage to his reputation

Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., filed a suit against two parody accounts Monday impersonating his mother and a cow. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Devin Nunes says he filed suit in Virginia state court on Monday against Twitter, a conservative political operative and two anonymous Twitter accounts, alleging a conspiracy to defame him and oust him from political office.

The California Republican seeks $250 million in compensatory and punitive damages for “pain, insult, embarrassment, humiliation, emotional distress and mental suffering, and injury to his personal and professional reputations,” according to the complaint, which was first reported by Fox News.

Visit by ‘Trump of the Tropics’ puts ‘America First’ in spotlight
Bolsonaro’s embrace gives Trump another chance to pitch himself as fighting socialism

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, left, poses with Venezuelan opposition leader and self-declared iterim president Juan Guaido during a news conference in Brasilia on February 28. (Andressa Anholete/Getty Images)

A populist message built on a pledge to put his country “first.” Hardline immigration policies. A get-tough-on China stance. And a controversial relationship with conservative strategist Steve Bannon.

Though that description certainly applies to President Donald Trump, it could also describe the man with whom Trump will appear Tuesday in the White House Rose Garden: Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s new president.

Navy spends epically on shoddy ships
CQ on Congress podcast, Episode 144

E8MKBB Pacific Ocean, April 23, 2014 - The littoral combat ships USS Independence (LCS 2), left, and USS Coronado (LCS 4) are underway. (Photo: Alamy)

3 Things to Watch: Kim lets Trump know their ‘mysteriously wonderful’ chemistry isn’t enough
‘There is no sign he’s stopped producing missiles,’ analyst says of North Korean strongman

South Koreans watch coverage of President Donald Trump meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during their summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, before talks collapsed. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images file photo)

ANALYSIS President Donald Trump once claimed he and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “fell in love.” But the dictator he once called “Little Rocket Man” let him know on Friday that their “mysteriously wonderful” relationship might not be enough to strike a disarmament pact.

As recently as Wednesday, the U.S. commander in chief signaled he continues to believe the unlikely warm relationship with Kim could drive a deal under which Kim would give up his nuclear arms.

Disaster aid vote is expected after recess, but what’s in it is still in the works
Several issues, including Puerto Rico, continue to be sticking points

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., left, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., conduct a news conference in February. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate leaders are teeing up a vote after the weeklong St. Patrick’s Day recess on an as-yet-undefined disaster aid package for victims of major storms and other natural disasters during the last two years.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky on Thursday filed a motion to limit debate on proceeding to a $14.2 billion disaster aid bill the House passed in January.

These GOP senators voted to potentially let Trump pull funds from military projects back home
Votes could carry some risk for Republicans up for re-election in 2020

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., voted “no” on a resolution to revoke President Donald Trump’s authority to shift military construction funds, putting funds for several military bases in his state at risk. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Some Republican senators who voted Thursday against terminating the President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration may face backlash for risking military projects in their home states.

Twelve GOP senators joined all Democrats in voting for the joint resolution to block the president’s bid to redirect up to $6.7 billion from other Cabinet departments for his southern border wall. But 41 Republicans, some facing competitive re-elections in 2020, voted against the measure. 

Senate rejects Trump’s emergency declaration on border
President has promised to veto the joint resolution

A fence marking the U.S.-Mexico border is seen at sunset on July 22, 2018, in Nogales, Arizona. (John Moore/Getty Images file photo)

On this day in the Senate, no man a king, not even President Donald Trump.

The Senate passed a resolution Thursday to terminate Trump’s national emergency declaration that would have allowed him to redirect up to $6.7 billion from other Cabinet departments toward constructing his long-promised wall on the southwestern border.

Trump leaving budget salesmanship to others, again
Silence comes at time of heightened attention to issues concerning wall, military

For the second consecutive year, President Donald Trump mostly has left selling his budget request to others. This year, acting OMB Director Russell Vought, right, seen here with Government Publishing Office acting Deputy Director Herbert Jackson, has been doing the honors. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump often has a lot to say, but what he doesn’t say can be just as illuminating. Take his latest budget proposal. 

The administration is asking Congress to spend $4.7 trillion next year despite the president’s gripes that the federal government is too bloated and spends too much. But so far, Trump is showing zero interest in making the case for his request, which experts say resembles a campaign document as much as one about governing. Trump opted against a public event on Monday, leaving the budget rollout mostly to his acting budget chief, Russell Vought, and surrogates on Capitol Hill and cable news.

FBI HQ investigation ‘closer to the beginning than the end’
GSA delivers 2,500 documents near midnight Tuesday in partial response to House Committee request

Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., prepares to chair the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee hearing on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

An investigation into whether President Donald Trump was involved in the decision to keep the FBI on prime Pennsylvania Avenue property is still far from over, lawmakers said Wednesday.

“We’re closer to the beginning than the end of the investigation,” said House Appropriations Financial Services Subcommittee Chairman Mike Quigley following a Wednesday hearing.