Patrick Kelley

House Appoints Defense Bill Negotiators As Space Corps Fight Looms
F-35 fighter jets will be another point of contention as the chambers confer

The House on Thursday agreed by unanimous consent to begin negotiations with the Senate on the fiscal 2018 Defense authorization bill. Throughout the coming weeks, a panel of conferees from each chamber will negotiate a final version of the legislation before Congress votes to send the bill to the president.

The House will send to the conference 46 Republicans and 27 Democrats. Eighteen Republicans and 13 Democrats will represent the Armed Services Committee in the negotiations.

Podcast: The Trump Doctrine on Foreign Policy
The Week Ahead, Episode 73

Donald Trump, the candidate, pledged to withdraw from foreign conflicts. As president, he has done the opposite, taking on North Korea, Iran, Cuba and Afghanistan. CQ Defense Editor Patrick Pexton and Reporter Patrick Kelley unpack what’s at stake at a time when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s future is also uncertain.

Space Corps Proposal Has Military Brass Going Orbital

It was, to be sure, a bold and audacious move from a relatively unknown member of Congress, who moved forward despite fervent objections from both the Defense Department and the White House and not so much as a full committee hearing or debate.

Alabama Republican Mike D. Rogers nevertheless used his perch atop a House Armed Services subcommittee to slip language into the annual Pentagon policy bill to create an entirely new military service focused on space.

Senate Set to Pass Defense Authorization Measure

With the Senate’s 2018 defense authorization bill passing a procedural hurdle Thursday, the chamber is expected to vote on final passage of the massive military policy bill Monday.

The Senate voted 84-9 to invoke cloture and limit debate on a substitute version of the bill that includes 104 amendments.

Drama Awaits Senate Debate on Pentagon Policy
No lack of substantive, high-profile issues for defense authorization measure

The Senate will take up the massive Pentagon policy bill this week, providing a stage for high-profile debate on simmering national security issues ranging from transgender troops to the growing North Korea nuclear threat.

Senators have already filed hundreds of amendments to the defense bill, among them language to allow transgender people to serve openly in the military, establish a North Korea strategy, limit arms sales to U.S. allies, define U.S. objectives in Afghanistan and block the creation of a new military service.

House Passes $658 Billion Defense Spending Bill

The House on Thursday passed the so-called security minibus appropriations package on a 235-192 vote, allocating nearly $790 billion across four separate spending bills, including $658 billion for defense.

The measure designates $584 billion in regular defense appropriations and $73.9 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations accounts.

House Readies Debate on Defense Amendments

The House Rules Committee on Wednesday approved a structured rule governing floor debate for amendments to the fiscal 2018 defense appropriations bill, the final piece of the four-bill minibus spending package on the House floor.

Legislators will work through 54 amendments in the defense measure (HR 3219) during debate Thursday, including language to restrict spending defense funds on certain projects in Afghanistan and Yemen and efforts to add funds for missile defense and other weapons programs.

Armed Services Panels Diverge on Space, Troop Levels
Committees also split on funding for Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship program

The House and Senate Armed Services committees took significantly different approaches in their annual Pentagon policy bills on everything from space operations to Army manpower, lining up what could be a tough conference negotiation later this year.

Among the biggest differences in the bills is how each approached space defense programs. The House panel advanced legislation that would create a new military service focused on space and operated by the Air Force called Space Corps. The proposal, which has the backing of committee Republicans and Democrats alike, would amount to a historic restructuring of the military, if it becomes law.