Afghanistan

Transgender Military Ban Lawsuit Could Turn on Trump Tweet
Suit claims White House turned Trump’s Twitter posts into official guidance for DOD

(Ted Eytan/CC BY 2.0)

Five transgender service members filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump’s apparent decision to reinstate a ban on transgender people serving in the military — a case that could turn on whether official policy can be announced on Twitter.

Lawyers for GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders and the National Center for Lesbian Rights represent plaintiffs who are in the Air Force, the Coast Guard and the Army and served from three years to two decades, including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. The plaintiffs are not named in the lawsuit filed Wednesday.

Army Vet Max Rose to Challenge GOP Rep. Dan Donovan
Trump won New York district by 10 points in November

Army veteran and non-profit health care executive Max Rose said he wants to confront a system that he says is “riddled with unfairness.” (Courtesy Max Rose)

Max Rose became the fifth Democrat take on GOP Rep. Dan Donovan Wednesday, but he says his economic message will set him apart from the primary field.

“I’m running because I’m fed up,” Rose, a Staten Island resident, said in an interview. The 30 year-old Army veteran says he will focus on an economic message, and addressing a system that he says is “riddled with unfairness.”

House Passes $658 Billion Defense Spending Bill

Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., and colleague Barbara Lee, D-Calif. proposed an amendment that prohibits money being spent on uniforms for the Afghan National Army. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

The House on Thursday passed the so-called security minibus appropriations package on a 235-192 vote, allocating nearly $790 billion across four separate spending bills, including $658 billion for defense.

The measure designates $584 billion in regular defense appropriations and $73.9 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations accounts.

Opinion: Despite Pressure, John McCain Chose Honor
Arizona Republican stood tall on health care vote

Arizona Sen. John McCain, flanked by Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, left, and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, stands as a champion for millions of Americans who would have been harmed by the Senate GOP health care bill, Allen writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Way back in 2004, when America’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were still in their infancy, Arizona Sen. John McCain recommended that his Republican colleagues in Washington back away from tax cuts as a sign of national sacrifice for the war efforts.

His words infuriated House Republicans, many of whom saw him as insufficiently patriotic to the GOP cause and some of whom liked to whisper that his ordeal as a prisoner of war in Vietnam wasn’t all that bad.

House Readies Debate on Defense Amendments

Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, followed here by Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, sponsored the language to provide money for a border wall with Mexico. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House Rules Committee on Wednesday approved a structured rule governing floor debate for amendments to the fiscal 2018 defense appropriations bill, the final piece of the four-bill minibus spending package on the House floor.

Legislators will work through 54 amendments in the defense measure (HR 3219) during debate Thursday, including language to restrict spending defense funds on certain projects in Afghanistan and Yemen and efforts to add funds for missile defense and other weapons programs.

Organizations, Activists React to Trump's Transgender Soldier Ban
Human Rights Campaign calls transgender ban an "all out assault on service members"

Then-Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announces the expanded policy of accepting transgender U.S. military service members in June 2016. (Allison Shelley/Getty Images file photo)

The LGBT rights organization the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) led the charge against President Donald Trump’s newly announced ban on transgender military service members Wednesday, calling it an “all out assault on service members.”

HRC said the ban would threaten more than 15,000 currently serving troops. Other estimates range from 4,000 to 6,000 members of the military.

War Waste in the Crosshairs

Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., said members were eager to see that further waste such as was revealed in a recent Pentagon audit was not repeated.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Three top U.S. auditors briefed a House Armed Services panel Tuesday on discomfiting reports of uncontrolled spending in Iraq and Afghanistan. The reports had all been posted online earlier this year. But the effect of presenting them in a single hearing was striking.

First, the Defense Department had spent as much as $28 million since 2008 buying “unnecessary, untested and costly” uniforms for Afghan security forces, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Sopko told the Oversight and Investigations panel.

Democrats Eyeing Maine Natives to Unseat Bruce Poliquin
GOP sophomore starts with incumbency and financial advantage

Maine Rep. Bruce Poliquin has twice defeated Democrat Emily Cain, but if he seeks re-election in 2018, he’ll face a new challenger. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Bruce Poliquin initially looked like a ripe target last cycle.

A freshman Republican, he was sitting in a longtime Democratic district former President Barack Obama comfortably carried twice. 

At the Races: Trump State Organizers Start Running
Challengers target blue-state lawmakers

Corey Stewart, who last year chaired President Donald Trump’s campaign in Virginia and ran for governor unsuccessfully this year, is running for the Senate seat of Democrat Tim Kaine. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

Two men who chaired President Donald Trump’s campaigns in states he lost last year are jumping into Senate races there. 

Corey Stewart, former chairman of President Donald Trump’s campaign in Virginia, on Thursday became the first Republican to announce a challenge to Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s running mate last year.

Ryan Teases August Recess Delay
If Senate delivers health care bill, “we’re going to stay”

Speaker Paul D. Ryan said his chamber may stay after the start of the scheduled August recess to work on health care. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Thursday that if the Senate delivers a health care bill before the summer is over, he’d be open to joining Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in keeping his chamber in during at least part of the August recess.

The Wisconsin Republican said that if the Senate produced the legislation at the same time members prepare to fly home for a month, “we’re going to stay and finish health care.”