defense

‘Fort Trump’: How Poland’s President Took Flattery to New Heights
U.S. president utters rare public criticism of Russia after months of GOP unease

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump with Polish President Andrzej Duda and his wife, Agata Kornhauser-Duda, on Tuesday in the Oval Office two hours before Duda proposed building a “Fort Trump” in his country. (Official White House Photo Joyce N. Boghosian via Flickr)

Trump Tower, Trump Hotel, Trump University, Trump ties ... Fort Trump?

Sure — if the president’s Polish counterpart gets his wish.

Obscure Pentagon Fund Nets $2B, Sets Pork Senses Tingling
Program prompts complaints of ‘jurassic pork’ as some see earmarks by another name

Where supporters see a way to bankroll innovate programs that the military may not even know it needs, critics see pork by another name. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Pentagon will soon have received about $2.3 billion in the last nine years — money the military never requested — for a special fund intended to help replace earmarks after Congress banned them, our analysis shows.

Buried deep inside the $674.4 billion Defense spending measure for fiscal 2019 that the Senate is expected to vote on this week is a chart with one line showing a $250 million appropriation for the Defense Rapid Innovation Fund, the latest installment of sizable funding for a largely unknown program that quietly disburses scores of contracts every year.

Members Find Billions Beneath Pentagon Couch Cushions
Vague explanations offered for cuts: ‘historical unobligated balances’ and ‘revised estimate’

From left, General Joseph Dunford, Jr., USMC Chairman of The Joint Chiefs of Staff, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and Under Secretary of Defense David Norquist take their seats for the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the Defense Authorization Request for Fiscal Year 2019 on Thursday, April 26, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The authors of a new Defense spending conference report ran a victory lap last week to tout the billions of dollars they added to the U.S. military budget, but they hardly mentioned the cuts they had to make to pull that off.

Members generally prefer to tout the “winners” in their bills, not so much the “losers.” That habit can obscure the hard work appropriators and their staffs do to wring savings out of the Pentagon and intelligence agency budgets, even when the total funding is an epic $674.4 billion, as it will be in fiscal 2019. 

Spending Splurge
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 78

A little girl and a man look through the windows of the Capitol dome miniature model in the Capitol Visitors Center Monday afternoon Sept. 10, 2018. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

House and Senate lawmakers made a deal to give the Pentagon a huge spending boost and defy President Donald Trump's call to cut various health, education and labor programs. CQ Defense reporter John M. Donnelly and Health reporter Andrew Siddons unpack the mammoth spending package now making its way through Congress.

Show Notes:

Congress Again Blocks F-35 Transfers to Turkey
Turkish president rebuffed Trump request to release detained American pastor

President Donald Trump talks to Chairman, President and CEO of Lockheed Martin Marillyn Hewson, right, and Director and Chief Test Pilot Alan Norman in front of an F-35 fighter jet during the 2018 Made in America Product Showcase July 23, 2018 at the White House in Washington, D.C. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Congress is poised to pass legislation that will block the transfer of the F-35 stealth fighter to Turkey, a NATO ally that helps produce the jet, as Turkey moves forward with plans to purchase Russian-made missile defense systems and refuses to release a detained U.S. pastor.

A provision in the fiscal 2019 Defense spending bill would withhold any funds from being used to deliver the jets to Turkey until the secretaries of State and Defense send Congress a comprehensive report on the U.S.-Turkish military and diplomatic relationships. The provision essentially matches language in the fiscal 2019 defense authorization bill, which became law earlier this year.    

Trump Signs Election Meddling Order, But No Mention of Russia
White House says they will keep talking to lawmakers as Senate bill lingers

Voting signs at One Judiciary Square in Washington in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump signed an executive order aimed at punishing foreign actors that interfere with U.S. elections, senior administration officials said Wednesday.

National security adviser John Bolton said Trump and his team decided to move ahead with the order to show he has “taken control” of efforts to prevent, stop and punish election meddling like that conducted by Russia in 2016. Though there is a bipartisan Senate bill focused on combating meddling, the administration moved the order now to put a “mechanism” in place that marshals all federal efforts under Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.

On Typically Unifying 9/11, Trump Attacks His Domestic Foes
On somber anniversary, president dubs DOJ, FBI ’so terrible‘

President Donald Trump began the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks by lashing out at his own political foes. (Getty Images)

Wreaths were laid and bells tolled Tuesday for the fallen in Manhattan, at the Pentagon and in a field in Pennsylvania. Officials spoke, as did Vice President Mike Pence, about “honor and remembrance.” But President Donald Trump started off the 9/11 anniversary by lashing out at his political opponents.

“For the families of the fallen and all those looking on, the cherished final moments with your loved ones … seem like yesterday. Just know that your nation understands,” Pence said at the Pentagon, striking the tone George W. Bush and Barack Obama administration officials did on Sept. 11 anniversaries past.

Capitol Ink | Never Forget

White House PLO Move Shows Kushner Peace Push Stalled
International Criminal Court is ‘dead to us,’ John Bolton says

Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, leaves the Hart Senate Office Building after his interview with the Senate Intelligence Committee staff on Monday, July 24, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House signaled Monday its Jared Kushner-led Middle East peace pact has stalled, making clear it is ready to buck yet another international organization.

The administration’s move against the Palestine Liberation Organization comes as that organization is set to ask the International Criminal Court to look into some Israeli actions in the region. It also is intended to send a message to Palestinian leaders as talks toward a peace pact have made little progress.

Sessions Should Launch Probe of Anonymous Op-Ed, Trump Says
President claims national security is at risk until author is found

President Donald Trump, in the Dakotas for GOP fundraisers, made an unplanned stop in the press cabin of Air Force One on Friday. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump said Friday his Justice Department should launch an investigation into who penned an anonymous New York Times op-ed that painted him as unfit for his job.

The op-ed, penned by an unnamed government official, claimed that a large cadre of officials across the government are working hard to stifle Trump’s most extreme policy whims. It also alleged that early on, senior officials toyed with using the 25th Amendment to remove the president from office.