defense

Pentagon Leaders Say Soft Power Central to ISIS Strategy
Mattis, Dunford pitch appropriators on supplemental funding proposal

Defense Secretary James Mattis says soft power is key to defeating terrorists abroad. ( Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Pentagon leaders on Wednesday stressed the importance of diplomacy in the fight against the Islamic State but sidestepped questions from Senate appropriators about the Trump administration’s proposed 29 percent cut to the State Department and other foreign operations accounts in fiscal 2018.

Defense Secretary James Mattis and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford pitched lawmakers on the military’s $30 billion request for supplemental funding for fiscal 2017, as well as the planned $54 billion boost to defense accounts proposed for next year, arguing that military readiness has been depleted after 16 years of war.

$30 Billion Defense Supplemental Duplicates Spending
Pentagon might not need full request from Trump

Trump, left, wants Congress to pass a supplemental spending bill for defense programs that the Pentagon might not need. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Pentagon may not really need the full $30 billion President Donald Trump requested last week for the current fiscal year.

That’s because Congress is already poised to provide a significant portion of the $30 billion in the fiscal 2017 Defense spending bill that the House passed on March 8. So that portion of the supplemental is redundant, congressional and Pentagon officials confirmed to CQ Roll Call.

GOP Warns Comey About Cloud Over Trumpland
White House continues to push allegation of wiretapping

FBI Director James B. Comey, center, and National Security Agency Director Michael S. Rogers arrive to testify at the House Intelligence Committee hearing on Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump’s top spokesman wants the world to “take no for an answer” on whether there was collusion between Russian officials and the former reality television star’s presidential campaign, even while the House Intelligence Committee chairman says “a big gray cloud” is hanging over Trump’s associates in the form of an FBI investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

“There is a big gray cloud that you have put over people who have very important work to do to lead this country. The faster you can get to the bottom of this, it’s going to be better for all Americans,” California Republican Devin Nunes said to FBI Director James B. Comey at the conclusion of a nearly six-hour hearing on the intelligence community’s conclusion that Moscow directed a campaign to disrupt the election and help Trump win the White House.

Trump Defense Boost Would Mean Big Gains for Some States
Democrats likely to hold line for parity with nondefense programs

Brian Schatz, whose state of Hawaii is the No. 3 recipient of per-capita defense spending, says there must be parity in domestic spending to go with any boost to national security programs. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A request from the Trump administration for a double-digit increase in defense spending could be largely decided by lawmakers whose states are far from equal players when it comes to the benefits of a bigger military budget.

That’s long been the case, as geographic, historic and strategic differences across the country result in more of an economic boost in certain states. But the differences are even more starkly displayed in a new Pew Charitable Trusts analysis that shows the funding split across all 50 states and the District of Columbia on a per-capita basis.

Trump Defiant on Alleged Phone Tapping, Upbeat on Health Bill
POTUS: Efforts to get House GOP health care votes going beautifully

Trump holds a joint press conference with Merkel in the East Room of the White House on Friday. He appeared to repeat his claim that for President Obama tapped his phones, and said Republicans are coming together around a health care overhaul bill. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

An ever-defiant President Donald Trump on Friday doubled down on his claim that Barack Obama’s administration tapped his phones, telling German Chancellor Angela Merkel the duo might both be victims of Obama-led spying.

“As far as wiretapping, at least we have something in common, perhaps,” Trump quipped in the ornate East Room. The U.S. and German journalists, staff members and dignitaries responded with laughter — and some gasps.

Opinion: This Budget Isn’t Dead on Arrival
Trump’s budget draws the battle lines between the parties

A president’s budget sets the tone, direction and parameters of the debate over government operations and Republicans in Congress will be hard-pressed to go against a president of their own party, Allen writes. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Every year, Congress affixes the same toe tag to the White House budget within minutes of its delivery: “Dead on Arrival.”

The phrase is such a cliche, and so often repeated by members of Congress who dislike the president’s numbers, that it’s hard to find a news story about each year’s budget that doesn’t include those three words. It’s also discounted as just a “blueprint,” “a political document” or a “proposal” written for disposal. When I was a budget reporter for CQ, and at other publications, these were my watchwords.

Trump Budget Slashes Nondefense Spending to Boost Pentagon
Plan calls for eliminating Legal Services Corporation, National Endowment for the Arts, and others

Copies of President Donald Trump’s overview of budget priorities for fiscal year 2018, titled “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again.” are put on display at the Government Publishing Office in Washington on Thursday. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Thursday unveiled the first portion of his fiscal 2018 budget request, a discretionary spending plan that includes new funds for a major military buildup and severe cuts to federal agencies certain to be strongly resisted by lawmakers on both sides. 

Among the hardest hit agencies under Trump’s “skinny” budget proposal are the State Department and the EPA, which would see a 28 percent and 31 percent reduction from enacted levels, respectively.

A Seminal Day in Trump’s Still-Young Presidency
Budget blueprint set to be released on same day as key health care vote

President Donald Trump faces one of the most consequential days of his presidency so far on Thursday. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

An amped-up Mick Mulvaney on Wednesday stood at a White House podium, speaking quickly and unsure of what day it was. The new Office of Management and Budget chief’s demeanor, in many ways, was a fitting symbol of a frenetic presidency that faces major tests Thursday.

Outside the Beltway, President Donald Trump rallied his base Wednesday in Tennessee’s “Music City” and called for a “new Industrial Revolution” in Michigan’s “Motor City.” Those vibes give way Thursday a possible turning point in his 55-day-old presidency.

White House Border Wall Request Sets Up Clash With Democrats
Trump seeks $1.5B in 2017 supplemental, followed by $2.6B in 2018 budget request

A barrier at the border of Tijuana, Mexico, and San Diego. The crosses represent migrants who died trying to cross into the United States. The Trump administration wants $1.5 billion this fiscal year from Congress to start building the president's promised massive border barrier. (Photo © Tomas Castelazo/www.tomascastelazo.com/Wikimedia Commons)

The White House is asking Congress -- not Mexico -- for $4.1 billion to begin constructing President Donald Trump’s promised massive wall along America’s border with its southern neighbor. But the request threatens to shutter the entire federal government.

The administration wants $2.6 billion for wall-related tasks as part of its budget blueprint for fiscal 2018, and $1.5 billion it could get and spending on the controversial project even sooner via an emergency spending package for the current fiscal year.

Hill Wants Answers on Russia’s Fielding of New Missiles
Deployment by Moscow violates a longstanding arms control treaty

From left, Gen. Paul Selva, Gen. John Hyten, and Adm. Bill Moran testify during a hearing before the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

A top U.S. military official confirmed Wednesday that Russia has deployed a new type of cruise missile that violates a longstanding arms control accord. 

The Trump administration is looking to respond, he said. And Congress wants to know how.