Defense & Cyberspace

List to replace fired national security adviser John Bolton grows to 15
Trump says he makes ‘all the decisions’ so senior advisers ‘don’t have to work’

President Donald Trump walks from the South Lawn to Marine One on his way to Joint Base Andrews in July 2018. He took the executive helicopter to a GOP retreat in Baltimore on Thursday evening. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There are now 15 candidates to replace John Bolton as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, but the president says it will not be Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

There was talk around Washington that the former Kansas GOP congressman — rumored to be eyeing a Senate run in his home state next year — might do both jobs after increasingly becoming Trump’s go-to counselor on foreign affairs and national security. But the president put an end to such speculation Thursday evening.

Senate spending bill would slash foreign military aid
Questions raised about how Pentagon is handling funds to train and equip Afghan and Iraqi forces fighting insurgencies

The Pentagon was unable to tell the Senate Appropriations Committee how many weapons purchased under one program had been ordered, received, or were in transit or lost. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Appropriations Committee is proposing to cut more than $2 billion from U.S. military overseas aid programs largely due to mismanagement, according to documents obtained by CQ Roll Call.

Combined with cuts to previously appropriated funds, the potential reductions would affect programs to train and equip Afghan and Iraqi forces fighting insurgencies and another account to reimburse Pakistan for the same sort of efforts.

Draft stopgap would protect Ukraine aid, deny wall flexibility
Draft CR doesn’t grant administration request to use CBP funds to build sections of southern border wall outside of Rio Grande Valley Sector

North Carolina Highway 12 leading onto Hatteras Island is covered with sand after Hurricane Dorian hit the area on Sept. 6. The draft stopgap spending bill being circulated by Democrats would accommodate a White House request to speed up disaster relief spending for Dorian cleanup as other tropical disturbances still threaten. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The measure would also accommodate a White House request to allow an increased rate of disaster relief spending as cleanup from Hurricane Dorian continues and other tropical disturbances still threaten

House Democrats are circulating a draft stopgap spending bill to fund government agencies beyond the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year that would prevent the White House from blocking military assistance to Ukraine and money for a variety of foreign aid-related programs.

Senate appropriations process continues to devolve
Labor-HHS-Education and State-Foreign Operations spending bills mired in abortion dispute

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., has seen the Senate’s appropriations process begin to fray this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate appropriators have abandoned plans to mark up two spending bills Thursday that have become mired in a partisan dispute over abortion policy.

The Appropriations Committee announced it will postpone consideration of its fiscal 2020 Labor-HHS-Education bill and its State-Foreign Operations bill. As of Wednesday evening, the panel still planned to take up its Defense and Energy-Water bills at a full committee markup, along with a measure that would divvy up total discretionary spending among the 12 subcommittees.

White House keeping foreign aid spending on a tight leash
Funding plan apportions roughly 2 percent of the remaining funds per day for the remainder of the fiscal year

Last month, the White House considered permanently canceling the funding, but President Donald Trump balked after pushback from top GOP officials on Capitol Hill as well as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House is slowly releasing its previous hold on State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development funds that lapse after Sept. 30, according to sources familiar with the move. But the agencies still could face difficulty spending it all before the deadline.

The Office of Management and Budget has required that the remaining funds in 10 accounts be “apportioned,” or parceled out, in one-quarter increments on the first four Sundays in September. Last month, the White House considered permanently canceling the funding, but President Donald Trump balked after pushback from top GOP officials on Capitol Hill as well as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Analysis: Bolton departure says much about Trump
The men reportedly had personality clashes, and differed on use of military force

President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media as National Security Adviser John Bolton listens during a meeting on Aug. 20. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump’s announced firing of National Security Adviser John Bolton says more about Trump than about Bolton.

Tuesday’s move — Trump said on Twitter he had fired Bolton, but Bolton said he resigned — casts in bold relief several attributes of the president’s foreign policy and the president himself.

Border wall, other disputes sidetrack Senate spending work
Panel's markup is delayed; government funding lapses on Oct. 1

Sen. Richard Durbin wants to move forward on military spending, but is unsure if that will happen. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate’s appropriations process fell into disarray Tuesday after a scheduled markup was abruptly postponed in a dispute over policy riders, and a fight over the border wall threatened to hold up defense spending.

Democrats were also resisting the GOP majority’s proposed subcommittee allocations that are needed to draft the 12 fiscal 2020 spending bills. And some lawmakers said there was still no agreement between the House and Senate on the length of a stopgap funding measure that will be needed to avoid a government shutdown come next month, when the new fiscal year begins.

Trump fires National Security Adviser John Bolton
‘I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House,’ Trump tweets

National Security Advisor John Bolton, center, and U.S. Ambassador to Poland Georgette Mosbacher, right, attend an international ceremony to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II in Warsaw, Poland, on Sept. 1. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced in a tweet that he has fired National Security Adviser John Bolton, saying he disagreed with many policy stances from his hawkish aide.

Bolton disputed the president’s account of his leaving the White House, tweeting moments after Trump’s announcement that he had offered to resign Monday, but Trump put him off until Tuesday.

Senate Democrats to try blocking Trump’s border wall diversion again
Shifting of $3.6 billion in military construction funds reignites effort to force a termination vote

"This vote will also provide a chance for Senators to prevent the president from stealing military funding from their states to foot the bill for an expensive and ineffective wall he promised Mexico would pay for, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is poised to say on the Senate floor. (File photo by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer will announce that his caucus will force another floor vote to terminate President Donald Trump’s border security national emergency.

“This rises to a large and vital constitutional issue: does our country truly have checks and balances, particularly important when we have such an overreaching president? This vote will also provide a chance for Senators to prevent the president from stealing military funding from their states to foot the bill for an expensive and ineffective wall he promised Mexico would pay for,” the New York Democrat will say on the Senate floor, according to an excerpt provided to CQ Roll Call.

House drug price negotiation plan could apply beyond Medicare
Draft plan would have government set prices based on those in other wealthy countries

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has been heavily involved in House Democrats' drug price plan. A spokesman emphasized that it's still a work in progress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A comprehensive drug price bill being developed by House Democrats would give private insurers the benefit of government-negotiated prices, according to a summary of the measure obtained by CQ Roll Call.

Under the Democrats’ draft plan, the government would set prices based on what is paid in other wealthy countries, according to the summary. That is similar to how a proposal by the Trump administration would work.

At ground zero, Homeland chiefs say cyber is top future threat
Former DHS chiefs urge proritizing cybersecurity risks

Former Homeland Security secretaries testify before Senate Homeland and Governmental Affairs Committee at the 9/11 museum in New York on Monday. (Getty Images)

NEW YORK — Nearly 18 years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, three former secretaries of Homeland Security gathered at ground zero on Monday and pressed the government to prioritize cybersecurity risks as one of the top threats to the United States.

Janet Napolitano, who led the Department of Homeland Security under former President Barack Obama, urged officials to apply greater creativity to cybersecurity in an effort to avoid the failure of “imagination” that the 9/11 Commission said might have prevented the 2001 airliner attacks.

Capitol Ink | Venn Diagram

Can Congress avoid a shutdown?
CQ Budget, Episode 126

Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., left, and Roy Blunt, R-Mon., are seen during a Senate Appropriations Committee markup in June. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

August is ‘quirky’: Trump’s top economic adviser brushes off disappointing jobs report
Data offers Americans ‘little comfort,’ Pelosi says, warning of president's ‘reckless agenda’

President Donald Trump speaks while flanked by Director of the National Economic Council Lawrence Kudlow during an event for American workers in the State Dining Room of the White House in October. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

Lawrence Kudlow, President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser, shrugged off a disappointing jobs report by saying August “is always a quirky month.”

Nonfarm payrolls added 130,000 jobs last month, about 20,000 less than most Wall Street estimates — a figure made further concerning because it was boosted by 25,000 temporary government hires in anticipation of the 2020 census. What’s more, total construction activity for July was $1.29 trillion, down 2.7 percent compared with July 2018, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Friday. The decline was led by a 6.6 percent drop in residential construction.

White House pushes ban on Chinese-made buses, rail cars
Advocate for ban says state-backed Chinese companies can underbid domestic competition and drive them out of business

A MARC commuter train leaves a station in Brunswick, Md. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House wants China to stay out of the U.S. mass transit business, whether it’s bus transit or passenger rail.

In a statement of policy before the House and Senate get together in a conference committee to work out their differences in a wide-ranging Pentagon policy bill, the White House said it supports a Senate provision that would bar federal transit funds from being used to buy transit vehicles manufactured by state-owned or state-controlled enterprises, including those from China.