Mac Thornberry

Drama Awaits Senate Debate on Pentagon Policy
No lack of substantive, high-profile issues for defense authorization measure

Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., left, and ranking member Jack Reed, D-R.I., will manage a sprawling floor debate on the Pentagon policy bill starting this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate will take up the massive Pentagon policy bill this week, providing a stage for high-profile debate on simmering national security issues ranging from transgender troops to the growing North Korea nuclear threat.

Senators have already filed hundreds of amendments to the defense bill, among them language to allow transgender people to serve openly in the military, establish a North Korea strategy, limit arms sales to U.S. allies, define U.S. objectives in Afghanistan and block the creation of a new military service.

Why Most House Republicans Voted for a Deal They Loathed
Debt haters and defense hawks made up most no votes

Texas Rep. Pete Olson, seen here at a Wednesday press conference, was among the 21 of 25 Texas Republicans to vote for final passage of the Hurricane Harvey relief measure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Most House Republicans griped about the fiscal package they were forced to vote on Friday, but ultimately, a relatively small portion of the conference was willing to vote against it.

A little more than one-third of House Republicans voted against a package that would extend government funding and the debt ceiling for three months, while providing $15 billion in disaster relief aid, primarily to Texas and Louisiana to help with the Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts.

Word on the Hill: Women’s March From NRA to DOJ
Happy Bastille Day

ICYMI: Former Vice President Joe Biden spoke to Senate pages after posing for a group photo during his visit to the Capitol on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

There’s another Women’s March today and this time, organizers are inviting protesters to march from National Rifle Association headquarters in Virginia to the Justice Department in D.C.

Organizers said the goal of the 17-mile march is to “to protest NRA’s incendiary & racist actions.”

In Tax Return Secrecy, Congress Unites
What some lawmakers said when we asked for copies of their returns

Only 37 of 532 members of Congress responded when Roll Call asked for copies of their tax returns. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

No matter what their political affiliation, members of Congress have this in common: They don’t like releasing their tax returns. Only 37 of the 532 members of the House and Senate responded when Roll Call asked for copies of their tax returns over several weeks, starting in April. Most of them declined to release their tax returns.

Here are some of their responses.

House GOP Still Bickering Over Budget
Defense increase, mandatory spending cuts primary areas of disagreement

Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent says Republicans should not waste time arguing over topline levels for nondefense discretionary spending since those will likely be raised in the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republican squabbling over a defense spending increase and mandatory spending cuts continues to put in danger a fiscal 2018 budget resolution, and subsequently, plans to overhaul the tax code.

After a Friday conference meeting to discuss the budget and appropriations process, their second “family conversation” of the week on the topic, the House GOP appeared no closer to consensus on a budget resolution that could get the 218 needed votes on the floor.

In the House, Full Speed Ahead on Defense Spending

House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, wants to increase defense spending. It might not be that simple. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry says he is “moving forward” to mark up a fiscal 2018 defense authorization bill the week before the Independence Day recess at about $705 billion.

But, the Texas Republican said, talks are ongoing among senior lawmakers and it is “possible” there could be “some adjustment” to that amount.

House Gets to Work on Defense Authorization Bill
GOP to push for more dollars for the Pentagon

House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, will begin shepherding the defense authorization bill through that chamber this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House Armed Services subcommittees will all meet this week to approve their slices of the annual Pentagon policy bill, the first formal step in the months-long negotiations to move the massive measure through Congress and to the president’s desk. The Senate Armed Services panels will follow suit soon. 

Subcommittees of the House Armed Services Committee plan to mark up their portions of the fiscal 2018 defense authorization measure June 21 and 22. Then, on June 28, the full committee will hold its daylong markup. Senate Armed Services plans to hold its mostly closed markups of the bill the last week of June.

Kihuen’s Soccer Injury Led to Politics
Nevada Democrat recalls moment of career-ending injury before professional tryout

Nevada Rep. Ruben Kihuen learned to play soccer growing up in Mexico. (Courtesy Kihuen’s office)

While Ruben Kihuen was running for the Nevada state Senate in 2010, he held a World Cup watch party and saw his former training partner walking out onto the field.

“When he walked in, I was like, ‘You know what? It was the first Nevadan to play in the World Cup and I’m glad it’s Herculez,’” Kihuen said of professional soccer player turned ESPN analyst Herculez Gomez. “Destiny is destiny. For me, I wasn’t destined to be a professional soccer player.”

Word on the Hill: Laura Bush Gets Women Making History Award
D.C. is no longer the most fit city

Former first lady Laura Bush will be honored in a video sent by former first lady Hillary Clinton.(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The annual Women Making History Honors gala will honor former first lady Laura Bush for her contribution to inspiring women.

Former first lady, New York senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton provided a video tribute for Bush. Other honorees this year include former NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, former NPR host Diane Rehm, and former U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios.

Armed Forces Say Yearlong CR Spells Danger
“This is lives and death and real consequences”

House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry has said a full-year continuing resolution could have “real consequences” for the U.S. military. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

First posted March 28, 2017, 3:18 p.m. on CQ.com.

If Washington fails to send the Pentagon a new spending bill for the rest of this fiscal year, the U.S. military will take a major hit, according to new Defense Department reports to Congress obtained by CQ Roll Call.