OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Manning found guilty on espionage charges

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTop Louisiana health official rips Cassidy over ObamaCare repeal bill Senate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions MORE (R-S.C) told The Hill on Tuesday that he respected Lind's decision, in light of the harmful effect the leaks had on U.S. national security.

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"It’s one of the more serious things I’ve seen a military member do since I’ve been around, for 30 years," Graham said. "People who say he’s a hero are misguided in terms of who a hero might be." 

Civil rights activists claim Manning had been subjected to cruel and unusual punishment since being taken into custody in 2010 and is being unfairly persecuted by the Obama administration for disclosing the information.

Manning's conviction "makes clear that the government was seeking to intimidate anyone who might consider revealing valuable information in the future," Ben Wizner, director of the Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement Tuesday. 

Senate Appropriators approve defense bill: The Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Defense on Tuesday passed a $594.4 billion bill that keeps Pentagon spending at pre-sequester levels in 2014.

The bill, which includes $516.4 billion in base defense spending and $77.8 billion in war spending, does not take sequestration into account, following the same path as the other three Defense bills Congress has moved this year.

If sequestration is not averted, the Pentagon’s 2014 budget proposal would face a $52 billion cut.

The total Senate bill is $3 billion smaller than the House measure. The Senate’s proposal includes $3.9 billion more in the base budget, but it appropriates $7 billion less in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) than the House and is below the administration’s OCO request.

Subcommittee Chairman Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Senate passes 0B defense bill MORE (D-Ill.) and other top lawmakers on the panel said Thursday that the sequester had to be dealt with or the Pentagon would face even greater pain in 2014 than it did in 2013.

Durbin warned that the Pentagon’s “whack-a-mole” approach to dealing with sequestration cuts in 2013 cannot be sustained in 2014.

“Civilian workers will be have to be laid off, rather than simply furloughed,” he said, and service members might not receive their bonuses.

There is no end in sight to the sequester, however, despite lawmakers from both parties who want to reverse the cuts.

Committee clears Dempsey nomination: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey moved one step closer to being confirmed for a second term Tuesday as the Senate Armed Services Committee approved his nomination in a voice vote.

The Senate panel held voice votes on the nominations of Dempsey, Joint Chiefs Vice Chairman Adm. James Winnefeld Jr. and an en bloc approval of more than 2,000 military officials.

The panel didn’t meet formally to approve the nominees, as it cleared them by establishing a quorum while the Senate voted Tuesday afternoon.

Dempsey’s confirmation faced turbulence earlier this month after Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainSenate's defense authorization would set cyber doctrine Senate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions MORE (R-Ariz.) had briefly threatened a hold on the nomination over a dispute about U.S. Syria policy.

McCain had criticized Dempsey at his confirmation hearing after the four-star general would not disclose his personal opinion about possible U.S. intervention in Syria.

McCain dropped the threat of a hold less than a week later after Dempsey sent over an assessment of U.S. military options in Syria, although McCain also criticized that assessment.

Dempsey is expected to be easily confirmed by the full Senate, which could come this week before the August recess.

McCain, Graham to visit Egypt: President Obama is asking Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to travel to Egypt next week in a bid to persuade the nation's military and government leaders to quickly hold elections, the senators said Tuesday.

“The president asked Sen. McCain and myself to go to Egypt next week, so we’re trying to find a way to get there,” Graham told reporters.

The proposed trip comes amid growing frustration from lawmakers over the Obama administration’s unwillingness to label the ouster of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi a military coup.

The Senate could vote this week on a measure from Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Lawmakers grapple with warrantless wiretapping program MORE (R-Ky.) that would cut off $1.5 billion in U.S. aid to Egypt, which he is proposing as an amendment to a transportation and housing spending bill.

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidThe Memo: Trump pulls off a stone-cold stunner The Memo: Ending DACA a risky move for Trump Manchin pressed from both sides in reelection fight MORE (D-Nev.) said Tuesday that he would allow a vote on Paul’s amendment.

“I have told everyone, including Rand Paul, if he wants a vote on Egypt, we'll give him a vote on Egypt,” Reid said Tuesday.  “It's up to the Republicans. I'm willing to do it. I don't like to telegraph my moves, but I think I would move to table that.”

Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara MikulskiBarbara MikulskiGore wishes Mikulski a happy birthday at 'Inconvenient Sequel' premiere Bipartisan friendship is a civil solution to political dysfunction Dems press for paycheck fairness bill on Equal Pay Day MORE (D-Md.) said Tuesday that the Egypt amendment was one of the major items Sens. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayWeek ahead: Senators near deal to stabilize ObamaCare markets Policymaking commission offers a glimmer of hope in hyper-partisan Washington Dems call on DeVos to work with CFPB to protect student borrowers MORE (D-Wash.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Ryan: Graham-Cassidy 'best, last chance' to repeal ObamaCare Collins skeptical of new ObamaCare repeal effort MORE (R-Maine) were negotiating in an attempt to reach an amendment agreement to move the bill this week before the August recess.


In Case You Missed It: 

— McCain calls for delay on LCS buys 

— DOD: Afghans will need US help after 2014 withdrawal

— House lawmakers say "justice has been served" in Manning case

— Senate appropriators pass $594B defense spending bill


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