DEFENSE UBER

Senate Adopts Budget With House-Backed Changes
Late amendment expected to help speed up consideration of a tax overhaul

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel arrives for lunch with Senate Republicans in the Capitol on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate adopted a fiscal 2018 budget resolution Thursday night that was amended at the 11th hour with the aim of making it acceptable enough to House Republicans to avoid a conference committee and speed the consideration of a tax overhaul.

The budget was adopted 51-49.

Senate Moves to Adopt House-Backed Budget Changes
Amendment negates need to go to conference to iron out differences

Senate Budget Chairman Michael B. Enzi’s amendment modified the House-passed budget resolution. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate on Thursday night agreed, 52-48, to an amendment by Budget Chairman Michael B. Enzi that modified the House-passed budget resolution, jettisoning reconciliation instructions aimed at getting $203 billion in mandatory spending cuts. 

Instead, the Wyoming Republican’s amendment replaces the House directive for a deficit-neutral tax cut with one that could add up to $1.5 trillion to the deficit over 10 years, similar to the Senate’s.

Trump’s Generals Had a Very Emotive Day
White House isn't denying account of president's words to military widow

White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly speaks during a briefing Thursday. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The generals with whom President Donald Trump has surrounded himself have seen combat and are known for public personas one part stoic and two parts tough. But on Thursday, Trump’s generals had a very emotive day.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, the retired Marine Corps four-star general who once commanded troops in Iraq, appeared in the White House briefing room and delivered a passionate rebuke of Rep. Frederica S. Wilson, D-Fla., who this week slammed Trump for his alleged remarks to the widow of a fallen U.S. soldier.

Analysis: McMaster’s ‘Hurt’ Feelings Make His Job Even Harder
Trump's national security adviser must manage feud between his boss, SASC chair

Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, left, on the day in February when he was announced as the new national security adviser by President Donald Trump (center) in Palm Beach, Fla. (Jenna Johnson/Washington Post/Print Pool)

ANALYSIS | Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain has touched a nerve with one of President Donald Trump’s top aides. And it puts the president’s national security adviser in a very tough spot, hurt feelings and all.

The Arizona Republican often complained to reporters on the national security beat just how tough he found it to get information about strategies and U.S. operations abroad from the Obama administration. He frequently groused that the Obama White House was micromanaging the Pentagon, State Department and intelligence community.

When the Budget Resolution Isn’t About the Budget
Senators acknowledge budget is all about taxes

Georgia GOP Sen. David Perdue is teaming up with a Democratic colleague, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, on amendments to the budget resolution that declare the process is basically absurd. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

When Sen. John McCain removed the suspense by announcing he would vote for the budget resolution moving through the Senate, the Arizona Republican made clear the ridiculousness of the exercise.

“At the end of the day, we all know that the Senate budget resolution will not impact final appropriations,” he said in a statement. “To do that, Congress and the White House must negotiate a budget agreement that will lift the caps on defense spending and enable us to adequately fund the military.”

Meet the Challengers Who Outraised House Incumbents
Some Democrats raised two to three times more than GOP lawmakers in third quarter

Democrat Anthony Brindisi raised more money during the third quarter than GOP freshman Rep. Claudia Tenney in New York’s 22nd District. (Tom Williams/Roll Call)

Nearly one year out from the 2018 midterms, challengers outraised nearly 30 percent of the incumbents in competitive races during the third quarter.

Sixteen Republican incumbents in competitive races raised less than their Democratic challengers during the third quarter. One Democratic incumbent was outraised by a GOP challenger.

Senators Ready to Confront Sessions at Oversight Hearing
Attorney General likely to face contentious questions about his leadership

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions returns to face his former Senate Judiciary Committee colleagues Wednesday in an oversight hearing likely to include contentious questions about Justice Department actions since he took on the role eight months ago.

“The attorney general will earn his money that day,” said committee member John Kennedy, a Louisiana Republican.

Contrary to Rhetoric, Military Mishaps Have Been Declining
The Pentagon’s deadly accident-filled summer bucked a larger trend

The destroyer USS John S. McCain collided with a chemical tanker in August, one of several deadly military accidents this year. Such incidents are on the decline, according to a Roll Call analysis. (Courtesy U.S. Navy)

Hawks in Congress have said military mishaps are up because the defense budget is down, but the data says otherwise.

The summer of 2017 saw a rash of fatal military accidents — ships colliding at sea, planes crashing and vehicles catching fire — that were deadlier than attacks from America’s enemies.

Mining Concerns Animate Minnesota Swing District
Rick Nolan gets challenger for DFL endorsement

Minnesota Rep. Rick Nolan, center, talks with Mark Froemke, right, and Wayne Fleischhacker, of the AFL-CIO, during a fish fry and fundraiser last fall. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

First-time candidate Leah Phifer doesn’t have many policy differences with Democratic-Farmer-Labor Rep. Rick Nolan — an original co-sponsor of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Act — except on one issue.

Phifer thinks her fellow Democrat has gone too far toward siding with the mining industry. The former FBI counterterrorism analyst is seeking the DFL’s endorsement for Minnesota’s 8th District and kicked off her campaign over the weekend.

On Climate Issues, House GOP Warms Gradually
As more Republicans sign on, the Climate Solutions Caucus is gaining steam

Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo has joined 20 Republican colleagues on a resolution that calls conservation a “conservative principle.” (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

BY ELVINA NAWAGUNA

When a Republican congressman in July tried to strip the 2018 defense spending bill of its requirement to plan for global warming and rising sea level threats, a group of House GOP lawmakers joined Democrats to kill the effort.