defn

Jimmy Panetta Takes a Hard Line on Military Spending
Son of Defense secretary represents Monterey County

Rep. Jimmy Panetta, left, was sworn in to Congress alongside his father, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, also a former member of the House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When the House approved the $577.9 billion fiscal 2017 defense spending bill on March 8, only 48 members — including four freshmen — voted against it. It’s politically difficult to vote against a measure that pays for the weapons U.S. forces need and supplies the funds for a 2.1 percent pay increase for Americans in uniform.

One of the freshmen was Jimmy Panetta, the youngest of former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s three children. He explained that he opposed the bill because it did not spend enough. “It could have done more to help my area on the central coast of California,” Panetta says.

GOP Struggles to Salvage Health Care Reform
Meadows trying to get 30 to 40 members to switch from ‘no’ to ‘yes’

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, is interviewed in Rayburn Building after he and other members of the HFC met at the White House with President Trump, March 23, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans struggled to work out a deal to salvage the troubled health care reform legislation ahead of a House Republican Conference meeting Thursday evening.

Negotiations over how to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law were moving along two parallel tracks: conservatives in the Freedom Caucus were dealing with President Donald Trump and his staff, and moderates in the Tuesday Group were talking to Speaker Paul D. Ryan and his leadership team.

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.

Full-Year CR Threatens Military Training, Hawks Say
Thornberry: “All but one deploying Army unit will cease training after July 15th”

House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, participates in House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's media availability with the Chairman's Task Force on Counterterrorism and Homeland Security in the Capitol on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The U.S. armed forces will see training severely curtailed if the continuing resolution funding the federal government is extended for the rest of the fiscal year, a leading lawmaker warned Wednesday.

Texas Republican Mac Thornberry, chairman of House Armed Services, said at a press breakfast that he has asked the military services what the effect would be of a full-year CR. He said he had not heard from all of them but offered a few startling examples.

Chances of Change to Defense Spending Caps Falling
Troubles confront Trump budget proposal to lift defense limits

Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky., a veteran appropriator, is dubious of the proposed changes to the budget.. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican appropriators appear increasingly skeptical about President Donald Trump's eye-popping proposed changes to fiscal 2017 spending levels, including nondefense spending cuts, a proposed $30 billion defense supplemental and a $3 billion border security supplemental.

Lawmakers said in interviews that it looks increasingly unlikely that GOP lawmakers will propose — let alone pass — the needed changes to budget law to allow for Trump’s request to increase the fiscal 2017 defense cap by $25 billion and reduce the nondefense cap by $15 billion. The reductions in nondefense, which were not specified by Trump, likely would require some major, nearly immediate cuts in federal agency budgets.

Appreciation | Jimmy Breslin and the Art of Describing Washington
Book by New York newspaperman is an invaluable portrayal of Capitol Hill

Jimmy Breslin found his muse in the late Massachusetts Democrat Tip O’Neill, above, whom he portrayed in his book “How the Good Guys Finally Won” as a consummate professional. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Jimmy Breslin will always be remembered as a New York newspaperman. But he also made an indelible contribution to documenting the Watergate scandal and in doing so, breathed life into some of Capitol Hill’s most influential characters. 

The hard-boiled columnist, who died March 19 at the age of 88, brought the full force of his observational skills to his 1975 book “How the Good Guys Finally Won.” Breslin made a career out of focusing on big stories through the perspective of working stiffs, so it’s no surprise he latched on to two methodical House Democrats who took on President Richard Nixon, fresh off a landslide 1972 re-election victory and whose team seemed to be brushing off the Watergate break-in.

NSC Official: Trump May Abandon Goal of Nuclear Disarmament

A United States Trident II (D-5) missile underwater launch. (Wikimedia Commons/Public domain)

This story originally appeared on CQ.com.

A senior administration official on Tuesday said the White House will review whether to back away from longstanding U.S. policy of nuclear disarmament while embarking on the process of updating the country’s nuclear arsenal.

$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.

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.

Rising Waters at Home Cause Republicans to Buck Party in D.C.
Moderate Republicans are out front on climate change threat

New York Rep. John J. Faso is one of several GOP freshmen concerned about climate change. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Whipping out his iPhone, New York Rep. John J. Faso scrolled through text messages from his wife until he found the photo he sought. 

“There’s my wife’s car in the driveway,” he said, pointing to a lump covered in snow. “So there was no climate change that we were worried about in the last couple of days.”