Overnight Defense: Mattis defends Trump budget | Senate rejects effort to block Saudi deal | Boeing to cut 50 executive jobs

Overnight Defense: Mattis defends Trump budget | Senate rejects effort to block Saudi deal | Boeing to cut 50 executive jobs
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THE TOPLINE: James Mattis pushed ahead on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, with the Defense secretary's second day in a row of committee hearings.

On Tuesday, he and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford were up in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Mattis refused to bite at repeated attempts by senators to get him to criticize the Trump administration's budget request.

"I'm here to defend the budget as it stands because I can defend every priority there," Mattis said at the hearing. "I have to represent the president's budget since he's having to deal with a wider portfolio than just defense."

President Trump's fiscal year 2018 budget request has been roundly criticized on Capitol Hill, with many calling it dead on arrival.

Defense hawks are upset the administration requested a $603 billion base defense budget, not the $640 billion they have advocated for. The $603 billion figure is $54 billion above caps set by the Budget Control Act.

Read more on that here.

 

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS:

-- Mattis: 'We're not winning in Afghanistan'

-- Mattis on Qatar crisis: Russia 'trying to break' world alliances

And if you missed Monday night's House Armed Services hearing:

-- Mattis slams Congress for 'inhibiting' military readiness

-- Mattis: Russia wants no 'positive relationship' with US

 

SENATE REJECTS EFFORT TO BLOCK SAUDI ARMS DEAL: The Senate on Tuesday voted down an effort to block part of President Trump's $110 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia, though the vote was much closer than a previous effort to block a sale to Riyadh.

The Hill's Jordain Carney reports:

Senators voted 47-53 on advancing the resolution, falling short of the simple majority needed to move forward. GOP Sens. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeSupreme Court takes on same-sex wedding cake case House approves motion to go to tax conference — with drama Trump really will shrink government, starting with national monuments MORE (Utah), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulLexington mayor launches bid for Congress Trump-free Kennedy Center Honors avoids politics Meet the Iran hawk who could be Trump's next secretary of State MORE (Ky.) Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungThe Hill's Whip List: Where Republicans stand on Senate tax bill Republican senators wrestle with their Roy Moore problem GOP mobilizes against Moore MORE (Ind.) and Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerDems look to use Moore against GOP Senate hearing shows Fed chair nominee acts the part Senate GOP votes to begin debate on tax bill MORE (Nev.) voted with most Democrats to advance it.

Democratic Sens. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyTrump rips Dems a day ahead of key White House meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign MORE (Ind.), Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillDemocrats turn on Al Franken Trump rips Dems a day ahead of key White House meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (Mo.), Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonOvernight Health Care: Ryan's office warns he wasn't part of ObamaCare deal | House conservatives push for mandate repeal in final tax bill | Dem wants probe into CVS-Aetna merger Ryan's office warning he wasn't part of deal on ObamaCare: source Overnight Health Care: Funding bill could provide help for children's health program | Questions for CVS-Aetna deal | Collins doubles funding ask for ObamaCare bill MORE (Fla.), Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinTrump rips Dems a day ahead of key White House meeting Senate panel moves forward with bill to roll back Dodd-Frank Wealthy outsiders threaten to shake up GOP Senate primaries MORE (W.Va.) and Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerSenate panel moves forward with bill to roll back Dodd-Frank Comey back in the spotlight after Flynn makes a deal Warner: Every week another shoe drops in Russia investigation MORE (Va.) voted against moving the measure.

The motion faced an uphill climb in the Senate, despite growing concerns about Saudi Arabia's involvement in Yemen's civil war.

Read more here.

 

QATAR BRINGS LOBBYISTS INTO GULF SHOWDOWN: The standoff in the Middle East over Qatar is quickly becoming an intense lobbying battle in Washington.

Qatar has five K Street firms on retainer, paying more than $1.8 million on its advocacy efforts last year, according to the most recent forms filed with the Justice Department -- some of the numbers are not yet updated, so the total stands to be much higher. The country hired two of those firms this year.

Some of Qatar's well-heeled neighbors, however, have even larger influence war chests, with upwards of 30 firms combined at their beck and call.

Those countries, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), have cut diplomatic and economic relations with Qatar, citing renewed concerns that the country is helping to fund terrorist groups.

Read the full story here.

 

BOEING TO ELIMINATE 50 EXECUTIVE JOBS: Federal contractor Boeing announced Tuesday it will reorganize its defense and space business in a major move that will eliminate roughly 50 executive positions and make the company "more globally competitive," it said in a statement.

"We need to be an agile organization that is more responsive to customers' needs and committed to continually improving productivity," said Leanne Caret, Boeing's CEO of defense, space and security.

"We are fundamentally addressing how we compete, win, and grow in Boeing's second century."

Approximately 50 executive employees will leave the company through layoffs within the next three to four months. All layoffs will be completed by the end of the year, Boeing spokesman Todd Blecher told The Hill.

Read the rest here.

 

ON TAP FOR TOMORROW:

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson testifies before the House Foreign Affairs Committee at 9 a.m. at the Rayburn House Office Building, room 2172. http://bit.ly/2suwBEj

Defense Secretary James Mattis and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford will testify before the Senate Appropriations defense subommittee at 10:30 a.m. at the Dirksen Senate Office Building, room 192. http://bit.ly/2rSLIXk 

Tillerson will testify before the House Appropriations subcommittee for the State Department at 2 p.m. at Rayburn 2359. http://bit.ly/2s9Wt8 

Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin testifies before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee at 2:30 p.m. at the Russell Senate Office Building, room 418. http://bit.ly/2rfdiLH

A Senate Foreign Relations Committee subpanel hears from outside experts and a State Department official on southeast Europe at 2:30 p.m. at the Dirksen Senate Office Building, room 419. http://bit.ly/2t4dTAf

 

ICYMI:

-- The Hill: House approves VA bill, sending it to Trump

-- The Hill: Schumer to GOP: Defend Mueller

-- The Hill: NORAD to conduct exercises in DC

-- The Hill: Top Armed Services Dem to propose bill to address Russian aggression

-- Defense News: US aerospace, defense exports growth decelerated, says report

-- Associated Press: US boosts team to investigate civilian deaths in Iraq, Syria

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