Defense

Air Force Opposes Creation of Space Corps
‘Pentagon is complicated enough,’ Air Force secretary says

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, center, says the military is complicated enough without having a dedicated Space Corps. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Air Force leaders on Wednesday pushed back on a House Armed Services panel’s plan to build a new fighting force dedicated to space.

“The Pentagon is complicated enough,” Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told reporters following her testimony in front of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. “This will make it more complex, add more boxes to the organization chart and cost more money. If I had more money, I would put it into lethality, not bureaucracy.”

GOP Frets About Fiscal Restraint Progress
Conservatives pushing cuts to mandatory spending

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan says Republicans are still discussing options for the budget and appropriations process, even as conservatives are pushing for steep cuts to mandatory spending. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Fiscal restraint has long been part of the Republican Party’s brand, but GOP lawmakers have made little progress on reducing the amount of money the federal government spends. And frankly, they’re sick of it.

That’s the impetus for what has become a serious push by rank-and-file House Republicans to use the budget reconciliation process to enact mandatory spending cuts.

House GOP Undecided on Spending Path
Speaker says Republicans still having ‘family conversation’

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., says Republicans are still at the 'family conversation' level of figuring out the appropriations process. Also appearing are, from left, Reps. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Glenn Thompson, R-Pa.. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

With a little more than seven legislative weeks before the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, House Republicans still do not have a consensus on the process for funding the government, fueling some discontent in the conference. 

“We haven’t decided exactly how we’re going to go about our appropriations process in this first year, but we’re going to move together on consensus,” Speaker Paul D. Ryan told reporters after the Republican conference met Wednesday morning.

Embattled AG Sessions Gets Vote of Confidence from Pence
VP: Trump administration trying to ‘make this country safe again’

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, center, is seen with Vice President Mike Pence, second from left, and senators in the Capitol’s Old Senate Chamber in February. On Wednesday, Pence said he and President Trump are “proud” to have the former Alabama senator as attorney general. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday gave a vote of confidence to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who is engulfed in the Russia controversy hovering over the Trump presidency.

The VP hailed Sessions as a “law and order attorney general,” and said he and Trump are “proud to have him on our side.”

Opinion: Jon Ossoff and the New Breed of Yellow Dog Democrats
How politics in a onetime Southern GOP stronghold have changed

By the kind of campaign he ran in Georgia’s 6th District, Jon Ossoff is emblematic of a New Southern Democrat, Murphy writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. — It’s Election Day in Georgia, so this column goes to print before we know the outcome of the 6th District special election to replace Dr. Tom Price in Congress. But whether Karen Handel, the Republican, pulls off a win or Jon Ossoff, the Democrat, manages an upset, it is well-understood here that the politics of this once solidly Republican district have changed, almost overnight.

The fact that Ossoff became so competitive, so quickly in this race was almost entirely because of Donald Trump. Trump was certainly the reason Democratic activists across the country pumped $20 million into a district where the biggest tourist attraction is a giant red chicken in front of a vintage KFC. Trump was also the reason countless Ossoff volunteers told me they were working for him “because at least it is something I could do” after Trump won in November.

Taiwan Officials Eyeing Republican Plan for Tax Code Overhaul
Changes seen as potential investment boon

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., may have an attentive audience among Taiwanese investors when he’s talking about giving the U.S. tax code a makeover. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

 

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan reaffirmed Tuesday Congressional Republicans’ intention to give the U.S. tax code a makeover. Among those listening with keen interest to Ryan’s announcement?

House Defense Panel Would Create Space Force

Next stop for the military, outer space? (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A House Armed Services panel intends to create a new fighting force called Space Corps within the Air Force to improve the U.S. military’s ability to address threats in space, according to a summary of the Strategic Forces panel’s forthcoming fiscal 2018 mark.

“There is bipartisan acknowledgement that the strategic advantages we derive from our national security space systems are eroding,” said a joint statement from Mike D. Rogers of Alabama and Jim Cooper of Tennessee, the panel’s chairman and ranking Democrat, respectively. “We are convinced that the Department of Defense is unable to take the measures necessary to address these challenges effectively and decisively, or even recognize the nature and scale of its problems. Thus, Congress has to step in.”

Trump Attacks Ossoff in Georgia Special Election Closing Argument
President: Dem ‘wants to raise your taxes to the highest level’

President Trump is attacking the Democratic candidate in Georgia's 6th Congressional District, Jon Ossoff, seen here at his campaign office in Roswell, Ga., on the final day of campaigning on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As voters head to the polls in a key Georgia special House election, President Donald Trump’s closing argument paints Democrat Jon Ossoff as pro-high taxes and weak on crime and security.

By all accounts, Trump had Democratic leanings for much of his adult life living high above Manhattan. But his late push for GOP candidate Karen Handel - which essentially tries to rile up Republican voters with a read meat pitch - shows how, on many issues, he has drifted to the right.

Opinion: A Don’t-Blame-Us Congress Ducks on Syria
Be bipartisan and authorize a war

Sens. Tim Kaine, D-Va., right, and Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., conduct a news conference in the Capitol to introduce an authorization for use of military force (AUMF) against ISIS, al Qaeda, and the Taliban on May 25, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It is, of course, not nearly as important as the struggle in GA-6 that is testing what happens when you inject more than $50 million into a single House race and batter the voters into submission with attack ads.

And the topic could not possibly compete with the learned analyses of Megyn Kelly’s NBC interview with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones — a TV show that was probably the biggest broadcast since King Edward VIII went on British radio to announce his abdication to marry “the woman I love.”

Prospect of Repeat Budget Failure Puts Pressure on Republicans
Budget needed for GOP to get to tax overhaul, possibly mandatory spending cuts

House Budget Chairwoman Diane Black, seen here at a committee hearing last month with ranking Democrat John Yarmuth, is confident Republicans will pass a budget this year, despite GOP divisions. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republicans face the possibility of failing to pass a full budget resolution for the second year in a row, despite making progress on their goals for a fiscal 2018 budget resolution.

The stakes are much higher than last year as the budget, through the reconciliation process, has become a tool for Republicans to advance legislation without Democratic support, something they lack on nearly all of their top priorities.