Mac Thornberry

Mattis Lists Budget Priorities, Warns Against Another Stopgap
Another CR would hurt national security, almost everyone agrees at Tuesday hearing

Defense Secretary James Mattis says the National Defense Strategy and the Nuclear Posture Review were crafted on the “assumption that timely and efficient funding” would be delivered to the Pentagon. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Pentagon’s budget request for fiscal 2019 will ask Congress to fund a spate of new high-tech weaponry as well as more traditional military programs, Defense Secretary James Mattis told lawmakers Tuesday.

The proposal, which the Pentagon plans to send to Congress next week, will seek funds for space and cyber operations, nuclear deterrent forces, missile defense, advanced autonomous systems, artificial intelligence capabilities and professional military education.

House GOP Plan Likely to Set Up Funding Bill Volley with Senate
House Democrats retreat may fall victim to latest funding strategy

Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker said the plan to fully fund the Defense Department through the end of fiscal 2018 while keeping the remaining agencies running on a stopgap schedule was “the right move.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republican leaders on Monday finally agreed to execute a government funding strategy conservatives and defense hawks have been pushing for months: fully fund the Department of Defense through the end of fiscal 2018 while keep the remaining agencies running through a fifth a stopgap measure.

The play call in advance of the Feb. 8 government funding deadline all but assures a volley with the Senate, which is expected to reject the House GOP measure.

Opinion: They Voted for Caps. Now They Want More Defense Spending
Sequestration was supposed to be so simple, but all it did was make a giant mess for defense

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry is among the many lawmakers who voted for sequestration in the form of the Budget Control Act of 2011 but who now call for hikes in defense spending. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump in his State of the Union address asked Congress to lift the “sequester cap” on defense spending. That same week, a bipartisan majority in the House, in a symbolic but important act, voted to reaffirm a cap-busting defense level for fiscal 2018. So the expectation is that defense spending will increase this year.

Leave aside for a moment the increasingly embarrassing spectacle of a Congress unable to carry out one of its most basic constitutional tasks — appropriating money to fund the government — and consider what comes next. If the fiscal 2018 defense bill ever becomes law, how will the additional money be spent?

Military Not Ready for the Next Larger War, Experts Say
Complaints about continuing resolutions feature in House Armed Services Committee testimony

National security experts expressed concern last week that the U.S. has fallen behind Russia and China in key areas of military preparedness. (Courtesy U.S. Department of Defense)

While the U.S. military is ready for another Iraq War or Syria-like intervention, it is unprepared to fight a war against bigger challengers such as China or Russia, national security experts told House lawmakers last week.

The Pentagon needs to shift its focus away from the smaller regional conflicts it has specialized in to fight terrorism, the experts said, and refocus itself, and U.S. allies, on these potential future wars with larger adversaries.

Analysis: Memo Mania Consumes Press Coverage of GOP Retreat
Looming government and funding deadlines also overshadow broader 2018 agenda plans

Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell conduct a news conference at the media center during the GOP retreat in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — Anyone looking for news about the 2018 Republican agenda being shaped during a joint House and Senate GOP retreat here might struggle to find it. All reporters wanted to talk about Thursday was “the memo.” 

Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took a break from their Thursday agenda planning sessions on topics such as infrastructure, workforce development and government and budget process changes to answer questions from reporters. But none of the questions asked during their news conference were about those topics.

Why the House Is Voting on Defense Funding a Third Time
Messaging and internal politics lead to another vote on increasing military spending

Speaker Paul D. Ryan and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, left, reached an agreement with defense hawks such as House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry to hold another vote on fiscal 2018 defense funding. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House vote this week on a stand-alone defense appropriations measure to boost funding for the military serves two primary purposes for Republicans: messaging and peacekeeping.

While the chamber has already twice passed legislation to fund the Pentagon above the fiscal 2018 sequestration budget cap, Tuesday’s vote allows the GOP to continue emphasizing its support for national security.

GOP Leaders Under the Gun to Avert Partial Shutdown
As hope for DACA deal shrivels, Republicans stare down Friday deadline

The fate of the DACA program is one of many issues affecting the shutdown talks. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 6:05 p.m. | Congress began the week with growing uncertainty about the effort to pass another temporary spending bill, even as the prospect of a partial government shutdown loomed.

No budget talks were held over the long weekend after the breakdown in negotiations last week, people familiar with them said. Talks had stalled over the fate of roughly 690,000 “Dreamers” — young adults brought to the United States illegally as children who are currently shielded from deportation by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.

GOP Spending Strategy Would Delay Shutdown Showdown
House Republicans consider multistep formula for combination defense-CR

Speaker Paul D. Ryan hosted a strategy meeting in his office Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans are working on a multistep government funding strategy that involves a two-week stopgap measure to keep the lights on beyond Dec. 8 and fully funding defense by Christmas.

No final decisions have been made but the idea GOP leaders have discussed with key conference members is to stick to the plan to pass a continuing resolution through Dec. 22.

Opinion: Defense Spending Approaches Moment of Reckoning
Big hike unlikely as defense hawks face off against deficit hawks

Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain, center, and House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry, left, arrive for an NDAA conference committee meeting in October. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Recent budget and tax proposals on Capitol Hill threaten to pit defense hawks against deficit hawks, which could result in defense spending that leaves the military unable to meet all its requirements.

A virtual freeze in defense spending has been in place over the past four years, and it appears unlikely that a big increase will get through for fiscal 2018.

Photos of the Week: Trumps on the Hill, Flake Not Running and a Gold Medal Ceremony
The week of Oct. 23 as captured by Roll Call's photographers

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi attend a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony on Wednesday in Emancipation Hall to honor Filipino veterans of World War II. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump was at the Capitol on Tuesday, where a protester threw Russian flags at him, and his daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump made a pitch for the child tax credit the next day. 

Sen. Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican, announced he will not seek re-election in 2018, adding to a growing list of lawmakers who are retiring.