Overnight Defense: Senate confirms first openly gay Army secretary

THE TOPLINE: The Senate on Tuesday afternoon confirmed the first openly gay Army Secretary.

The Senate approved Eric Fanning to lead the Army by unanimous consent, after his nomination had been held in limbo for months because of a fight over the Guantanamo Bay detention center. 

Sen. Pat RobertsPat RobertsPicking 2018 candidates pits McConnell vs. GOP groups IRS chief says he's committed to finishing his term Overnight Finance: CBO predicts budget deficits, debt to hit new highs in 30 years | Meet Trump’s Ms. Fix-It | Trump, Mnuchin talk tax reform | Mexico's B windfall MORE (R-Kan.) said Tuesday that he had dropped his hold on Fanning's nomination because the "clock has run out" for the president to move Guantanamo Bay detainees into the United States. 

The Hill's Jordain Carney has the full report here

 

HOUSE TAKES UP DEFENSE POLICY BILL: The House began debate on the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act on Tuesday, adopting a number of amendments. 

The House adopted an amendment to a defense policy bill that would cap the National Security Council at 100 staffers, unless the National Security Adviser goes before the Senate for confirmation.

Read more here

Another amendment that was adopted would amend the Freedom of Information Act include the NSC and makes the FOIA requirement effective after Senate confirmation of a National Security Adviser.

A handful of amendments dealing with the Guantanamo Bay detention facility were also considered, with some being adopted, and some delayed for a recorded vote. 

An amendment from Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) was adopted requiring the Director of National Intelligence to review intelligence reports of past Gitmo detainees and make available to the public any information that is declassified after the review.

Another adopted amendment from Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) requires the U.S. and foreign governments to enter into a written memorandum of understanding regarding the transfer of any individual from Guantanamo Bay and send it to Congress. 

For a full list of amendments considered so far, visit the House Speaker's site here.  

 

MEASURE ON WOMEN IN DRAFT STRIPPED FROM BILL: One thing you will not find in the defense policy bill is a provision requiring women to register for the draft. 

The language requiring women to register was officially stripped out of National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on Tuesday afternoon as part of a procedural vote, after the House Rules Committee moved to do so on Monday night. 

The Hill's Rebecca Kheel explains the debate

 

MEANWHILE, HOUSE PANEL ADVANCES $575.7B DEFENSE BILL: The House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday approved by voice vote its $575.7 billion defense appropriations bill.

The bill includes $517.1 billion for basic requirements and $58.6 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations, the Pentagon's war fund, though $15.7 of the war funding would be redirected for requirements such as readiness, infrastructure and modernization.

The House bill only provides war funding through April 2017, so the next president will have to request supplemental funding. Democrats have criticized that approach.

The Hill's Rebecca Kheel has more on the defense spending bill.

 

SENATE ALLOW 9/11 VICTIMS TO SUE SAUDI ARABIA: The Senate on Tuesday approved legislation that would allow victims of the 9/11 terror attacks to sue Saudi Arabia, defying vocal opposition from the White House. 

The upper chamber approved the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act by unanimous consent.

"This bill is very near and dear to my heart as a New Yorker because it would allow the victims of 9/11 to pursue some small measure of justice," Sen. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerPriebus: I believe the government will stay open So what if banks push fancy cards? Give consumers the steak they want Ted Cruz: Warren could beat Trump in 2020 MORE (D-N.Y.) said. "[This is] another example of the [John] Cornyn-Schumer collaboration, which works pretty well around here."

The Hill's Jordain Carney reports on the bill

 

ON TAP FOR TOMORROW: 

A House Foreign Affairs subcommittee will hold a hearing on supporting democracy in Africa at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2172. http://1.usa.gov/1WsBt5w

 

ICYMI: 

-- The Hill: Aide Ben Rhodes defies GOP: I'll stay until Obama's 'very last day' in office

-- The Hill: Bergdahl court martial delayed until 2017

-- The Hill: White House: 'Difficult to imagine' Obama signing Saudi 9/11 bill

-- The New York Times: Obama to Relax U.S. Sanctions Against Myanmar
-- Defense News: Carter Hits Hill for 'Unhelpful Micromanagement'

 

Please send tips and comments to Kristina Wong, kwong@thehill.com, and Rebecca Kheel, rkheel@thehill.com 

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