Adam Smith

Congress Should Revise Base Closure Rules, Report Recommends
Heritage Foundation says lawmakers should authorize a new round

Congress should revise its rules on base closures, a new report from the Heritage Foundation recommends. (Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

Congress should revise the rules guiding base realignment and closure and authorize a new round, a new paper from a conservative think tank recommended.

Done properly, a round of base realignment and closure, or BRAC, is a good example of federal efficiency, wrote Frederico Bartels, an analyst with the Heritage Foundation.

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 Senate so vigorously opposes the Space Corps proposal that it adopted by unanimous consent an amendment — offered by Sens. Bill Nelson and Tom Cotton, shown here in 2016 — to the Senate NDAA that would block it. (Bill Clark/Roll Call)

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.

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

Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., left, and ranking member Jack Reed, D-R.I., will manage a sprawling floor debate on the Pentagon policy bill starting this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

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.

Trump’s Tweet on Transgender Service Members Roils Congress
McCain: Americans who serve should be treated as patriots

Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain says no able service member should be forced to leave the military. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump’s announcement Wednesday morning on Twitter that he will bar transgender people from serving in the military brings to a boil a previously simmering congressional debate.

Critics of Trump’s proposal have already vowed to fight back hard, and the battle will be joined promptly. It will start in the next 24 hours or so during House debate on security spending legislation.

3 Things to Watch as Trump Heads to Poland, Germany
First one-on-one with Putin will headline G-20 summit

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin in October. The two will be among the G-20 leaders President Donald Trump will join for a summit Friday in Hamburg, Germany. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump landed in Warsaw, Poland, under the cover of darkness Wednesday but there will be no hiding from the spotlight during his two-day European visit that will include a much-anticipated meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Trump is slated to deliver what national security adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster described last week as a “major speech” to the Polish people on Thursday. A day later, the president will be in Hamburg, Germany, for a meeting of the leaders of 20 rich and developing countries.

Word on the Hill: The Game Must Go On
Taste of Hawaii huge success

Texas Rep. Joe L. Barton, left, the Republican’ baseball team manager, is accompanied to a meeting by Pennsylvania Rep. Patrick Meehan after Barton spoke to reporters about the shooting Wednesday as his team practiced in Alexandria, Va. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

After a gunman rattled Washington on Wednesday by opening fire at the Republicans’ morning baseball practice, coaches from the two teams with the backing of House Leaders Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., and Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., decided the 56th annual Congressional Baseball Game must go on.

Just a week earlier, HOH was at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in Alexandria, Va., where the shooting took place. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., who was one of five people wounded in the shooting, shared his thoughts with us going into the game.

Trump’s ‘Total Authorization’ to Military Gives Some ‘Deep Concerns’
But GOP lawmakers say president remains involved in strategic decisions

President Donald Trump’s deference to military commanders to make “tactical decisions” has been partly attributed to his trust in Defense Secretary James Mattis. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump says he has given U.S. military commanders “total authorization” to make complex combat decisions, a move that alarms some senior Democratic members and national security experts.

The commander in chief revealed a major policy shift from the Obama administration, which was heavily involved in strategic and tactical decisions, on a late Thursday afternoon in mid-April. The news dominated the cable airwaves for a few hours, then was quickly overshadowed by self-inflicted wounds and eventually, an ever-escalating series of bombshells related to possible ties between Moscow and Trump’s campaign and transition teams.

Armed Forces Say Yearlong CR Spells Danger
“This is lives and death and real consequences”

House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry has said a full-year continuing resolution could have “real consequences” for the U.S. military. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

First posted March 28, 2017, 3:18 p.m. on CQ.com.

If Washington fails to send the Pentagon a new spending bill for the rest of this fiscal year, the U.S. military will take a major hit, according to new Defense Department reports to Congress obtained by CQ Roll Call.

Senior Democrats Want Audit of Nuclear Warhead Plan
Smith, Kaptur skeptical of administration plan

Rep. Marcy Kaptur has joined with a fellow Democrat overseeing the nuclear arsenal to ask for an audit on modernization efforts. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The two most senior House Democrats who oversee the U.S. nuclear arsenal want an audit of the cost of and justification for modernizing certain nuclear warheads.

Adam Smith of Washington, ranking member on the Armed Services Committee, and Marcy Kaptur of Ohio, ranking member on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water, questioned “the affordability and need” for so-called interoperable warheads in a letter to Gene Dodaro, who heads the Government Accountability Office, Congress’ watchdog.

Democrats Want Panel to Probe Election-Related Hacks
12-member commission would determine foreign influence in presidential outcome

Democratic California Rep. Eric Swalwell is looking to create a panel to investigate foreign meddling in U.S. elections. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Democrats on Wednesday unveiled a plan to create a commission to investigate foreign interference in the presidential election while taking care to note the effort was not a protest against Donald Trump's victory.

A bill by Reps. Eric Swalwell of California and Elijah Cummings of Maryland would create a 12-member panel made up of foreign policy, intelligence and election experts to examine attempts by the Russian government to influence the result.  The commission would issue a report and make recommendations within 18 months of its creation.