OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: ISIS fight costs $7-10 million per day

THE TOPLINE: The Pentagon said Thursday that the cost of the U.S. military campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is an estimated $7 million to $10 million per day. 

"The best estimate I can give you now is between $7 million and $10 million per day, but that varies," Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters on Thursday. 

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The estimate is an uptick from the average $7.5 million per day figure the Pentagon gave last month

Kirby said the funds are coming out of the Pentagon's 2014 Overseas Contingency Operations account. When the new fiscal year begins on Oct. 1, the Pentagon will draw from $85 billion in war funds included in a temporary funding measure. 

Congress will likely pass a defense spending bill in December, but it is not clear yet how much the Pentagon will request. 

So far, the U.S. has conducted 209 airstrikes against ISIS targets across Iraq and 30 airstrikes in Syria.  

The U.S. has used a mixture of fighter and attack aircraft, bombers and drones to strike targets in the two countries, as well as launching more than 40 missiles from Navy ships in the Persian Gulf. 

 

BOEHNER: PUNT WAR DEBATE TO 2015: Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerDems face hard choice for State of the Union response Even some conservatives seem open to return to earmarks Overnight Finance: Trump, lawmakers take key step to immigration deal | Trump urges Congress to bring back earmarks | Tax law poised to create windfall for states | Trump to attend Davos | Dimon walks back bitcoin criticism MORE (R-Ohio) said it would be wrong to debate an authorization of military force against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) during the lame-duck session of Congress.

“Doing this with a whole group of members who are on their way out the door, I don’t think that is the right way to handle this,” he told The New York Times in an interview.

Boehner said he is open to expanding military operations against ISIS and that Congress "should speak" on the issue.

“I would suggest to you that early next year, assuming that we continue in this effort, there may be that discussion and there may be that request from the president,” Boehner said.

Other GOP lawmakers have voiced similar reservations about taking up any significant legislation in the brief session following the midterms, arguing that those lawmakers who lost their reelection bids will have no accountability.

Several top Democrats, including House Democratic Whip Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerMcCarthy: ‘No deadline on DACA’ Lawmakers see shutdown’s odds rising Hoyer suggests Dems won't support spending bill without DACA fix MORE (D-Md.), though, have demanded the House take up the authorization after the election.

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidDems search for winning playbook Dems face hard choice for State of the Union response The Memo: Immigration battle tests activists’ muscle MORE (D-Nev.) last week outlined a schedule for the lame-duck session that included debate on a resolution authorizing military force.

The White House maintains President Obama already has the legal authority for the ongoing air campaign in Iraq and Syria, citing the 2001 authorization of force against terrorists and a separate 2002 authorization for operations in Iraq.

However, the president has said he would welcome a vote in Congress.

 

CAMPAIGN ADS FOCUS ON IRAQ: Less than 40 days away from the election day, Republican and Democratic candidates are increasingly featuring national security issues in their campaigns.

Iowa Republican Senate hopeful Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstIowa voters laugh after GOP senator says Trump is standing up for Norway Dems face hard choice for State of the Union response Family caregivers need a voice in our political debate MORE launched a trio of ads on Thursday highlighting her military record in Iraq. 

The radio and TV ads feature testimonials from Iraq War veterans who served alongside Ernst, a lieutenant colonel in the Iowa National Guard.

Ernst is in a deadlocked race against Rep. Bruce BraleyBruce Lowell BraleyOPINION | Tax reform, not Trump-McConnell feuds, will make 2018 a win for GOP Ten years later, House Dems reunite and look forward Trump: Ernst wanted 'more seasoning' before entertaining VP offer MORE (D) to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin.  The contest could decide which party controls the Senate next year.

In Massachusetts, House candidate Seth MoultonSeth Wilbur MoultonDem hopefuls flock to Iowa Rep. Kennedy welcomes second child Dem rep Moulton calls on Franken to resign MORE (D), an Iraq war vet, released a commercial touting his opposition to sending U.S. troops back into the Mideast country.

"Four tours in Iraq — a war he opposed but didn’t want another to go in his place," the ad states. "And he doesn't want to send troops back there now."

Moulton beat Rep. John Tierney (D) earlier this month in the Democratic primary, boosted by key endorsements from military personnel, including retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the former top U.S. commander in Afghanistan. 

Moulton now faces Republican Richard Tisei in a district that leans Democratic.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: 

— WH can’t confirm ISIS plot to attack subways

— Ayotte presses Treasury to cut off ISIS funds

— House Dem: Military action 'not the solution' to ISIS

— FBI believes it has identified militant in ISIS video

— US pulls some embassy staffers from Yemen

— Marines helping with Ebola outbreak in Liberia

 

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