The Senate this week will continue, and perhaps finish, work on its 2016 Pentagon policy bill. The House could take up its defense appropriations bill, according to a senior aide. As both measures move toward final passage, Republicans essentially are calling President Barack Obama's bluff.
Paradoxically, the longer I covered the military-industrial-congressional complex, the less I understood it. As the last dozen years piled up, so did the questionable outcomes, from the Iraq misadventure to all the troubled and canceled weapon programs.
The third-ranking House Appropriations Committee Democrat says Congress and the White House are "careening" toward another government shutdown, adding a GOP-proposed defense spending plan is partly to blame.
The House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday approved a bill that proposes nearly $600 billion in 2016 defense spending, leaving intact a controversial $88 billion war account and fully funding weapon programs.
Ahead of a House Appropriations Committee markup session set for Tuesday, a senior White House official sent a letter to committee leadership decrying the use of war accounts to pay for routine operations as a "gimmick" and called for a fix for sequestration budget cuts, lest they place national security "at unnecessary risk."
Sen. John McCain's first defense policy bill is reflection of the Armed Services Committee chairman: bold and complicated. It is the kind of legislation that in one breath proposes lower aircraft carrier cost caps but in the next flirts with potentially costly design changes.
Defying opposition from conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats — and a White House veto threat — the House Appropriations defense subcommittee last week approved a $578.6 billion 2016 Pentagon spending bill. The measure includes nearly $500 billion in base defense spending and $88.4 billion in war funding. If enacted, that funding level would be $24.4 billion above the amount enacted for the current fiscal year.