Overnight Defense: Senate passes $700B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions

Overnight Defense: Senate passes $700B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions
© Greg Nash

THE TOPLINE: The Senate easily cleared a nearly $700 billion defense policy bill on Monday, despite a fight over amendments that slowed down the legislation. 

Senators voted 89-8 on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which includes roughly $640 billion in base defense spending and $60 billion in war funds. 

Sens. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerTrump to hold Nashville rally amid efforts to boost GOP Senate hopeful Kim Jong Un surprises with savvy power plays Tax reform postmortem reveals lethal dose of crony capitalism MORE (R-Tenn.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandOvernight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — Trump hits federally funded clinics with new abortion restrictions Dem senators ask drug companies to list prices in ads Gillibrand to publish children's book about suffragists MORE (D-N.Y.), Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyDem senator mocks Pruitt over alleged security threats: 'Nobody even knows who you are' Pruitt tells senators: ‘I share your concerns about some of these decisions’ Protesters hold up 'fire him' signs behind Pruitt during hearing MORE (D-Vt.), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeSenate panel advances Trump's CIA nominee Doug Jones to oppose Haspel as CIA chief This week: Trump heads to Capitol Hill MORE (R-Utah), Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyHillicon Valley: Facebook, Google struggle to block terrorist content | Cambridge Analytica declares bankruptcy in US | Company exposed phone location data | Apple starts paying back taxes to Ireland Overnight Energy: Pruitt taps man behind 'lock her up' chant for EPA office | Watchdog to review EPA email policies | Three Republicans join climate caucus Watchdog to probe EPA email preservation MORE (D-Ore.), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulKentucky Dems look to vault themselves in deep-red district Overnight Defense: Senate confirms Haspel as CIA chief | Trump offers Kim 'protections' if he gives up nukes | Dem amendments target Trump military parade Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers target Chinese tech giants | Dems move to save top cyber post | Trump gets a new CIA chief | Ryan delays election security briefing | Twitter CEO meets lawmakers MORE (R-Ky.), Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersHarvard law professor: Impeachment could worsen political dysfunction, polarization Gun control debate shifts to hardening schools after Texas shooting Bernie Sanders: NRA to blame for lack of action on gun control MORE (I-Vt.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenHillicon Valley: Facebook, Google struggle to block terrorist content | Cambridge Analytica declares bankruptcy in US | Company exposed phone location data | Apple starts paying back taxes to Ireland Firm exposes cell phone location data on US customers Overnight Finance: Watchdog weighs probe into handling of Cohen bank records | Immigration fight threatens farm bill | House panel rebukes Trump on ZTE | Trump raises doubts about trade deal with China MORE (D-Ore.) voted against the mammoth bill.

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GOP Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham: Trump will 'end North Korea’s threat to the American homeland' in his first term Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers weigh in after Texas school shooting Kim Jong Un surprises with savvy power plays MORE (S.C.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioCongress — when considering women’s health, don’t forget about lung cancer Anti-Maduro Venezuelans not unlike anti-Castro Cubans of yore Tax reform postmortem reveals lethal dose of crony capitalism MORE (Fla.), as well as Democratic Sen. Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezThe Hill's Morning Report: Can Trump close the deal with North Korea? Senate must save itself by confirming Mike Pompeo Poll: Menendez has 17-point lead over GOP challenger MORE (N.J.) missed the vote.

Senators will now need to go to conference with House lawmakers to reconcile differences between their two versions of the bill. They'll then have to pass a compromise deal by the end of the year and send it to President Trump's desk.
Monday night's passage of the bill comes after lawmakers filed more than 400 amendments to the legislation. Only one, a failed effort by Paul to sunset the 2001 and 2002 war authorizations, got a vote.

The hang up, according to Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump's plan to claw back spending hits wall in Congress Defense bill moves forward with lawmakers thinking about McCain How House Republicans scrambled the Russia probe MORE (R-Ariz.), stemmed around four proposals that lawmakers wanted a vote on, including a push by Sen. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonSenate confirms Haspel to head CIA Democrats urge colleagues to oppose prison reform bill Trump-backed prison reforms face major obstacles in Senate MORE (R-Ark.) to "end sequestration" and a measure from Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinThis week: House GOP regroups after farm bill failure Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — Trump hits federally funded clinics with new abortion restrictions Dem lawmaker spars with own party over prison reform MORE (D-Ill.) stripping limitations on medical research funded by the Pentagon

The stalemate on amendments forced Senate leadership to start wrapping up the bill late last week and run out the Senate's clock on debate time. Senators agreed to speed up a series of final procedural votes on Monday evening.

McCain and Sen. Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedOvernight Defense: Trump aide's comment mocking McCain sparks outrage | Haspel gets another 'no' vote | Pompeo floats North Korea aid for denuclearization Politicians, media explode over White House aide's comments Senate Dems urge Trump to remain in Iran deal ahead of announcement MORE (D-R.I.), the top two members of the Armed Services Committee, also got a deal to tuck more than 150 non-controversial amendments into the Senate bill.

The Hill's Jordain Carney has more here.

 

MATTIS HINTS AT US MILITARY OPTIONS FOR NORTH KOREA: The United States has military options for dealing with North Korea that wouldn't put South Korea's capital of Seoul at risk, Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisMattis receives honorary doctorate from international affairs school Overnight Defense: Over 500 amendments proposed for defense bill | Measures address transgender troops, Yemen war | Trump taps acting VA chief as permanent secretary Defense bill amendment would protect open transgender military service MORE said Monday. 

“Yes there are. But I will not go into details,” Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon.

Mattis wouldn't say any more about the military plans, but did confirm that he discussed with his South Korean counterpart the idea of introducing nuclear weapons to the Korean peninsula. He would not confirm if that was one of the options under consideration. 

He also said diplomacy and sanctions are working in pressuring Pyongyang. 

North Korea on Friday launched its second ballistic missile over Japanese airspace in a month.

Read more here

 

Mattis' comments come a day after the United States, Japan and South Korea sent fighter jets and bombers over the Korean Peninsula in a show of force.

U.S. Air Force and Marine Corps aircraft flew across the Korean Peninsula and released live weapons in a training area as part of the exercise, according to the U.S. Pacific Command.

Read about that here.

 

MORE THAN 3,000 TROOPS HEADING TO AFGHANISTAN: Mattis  on Monday also confirmed the United States will send 3,000 more troops to Afghanistan.

“It is exactly over 3,000 somewhat and frankly I haven't signed the last of the orders right now as we look at specific, small elements that are going,” Mattis told reporters. 

The extra troops would bring the total number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan to more than 14,000. 

Mattis added most of the extra troops were already en route to Afghanistan or had been notified of their deployment. 

The announcement follows President Trump's South Asia strategy, announced in August, which aims to beef up U.S. forces in Afghanistan from the current 11,000 number.

Read the rest here.

 

TWO MORE NAVY OFFICIALS FIRED FOLLOWING SHIP COLLISIONS: Two more commanders from the troubled 7th Fleet have been fired, the U.S. Navy said Monday, amid investigations into two collisions that killed 17 sailors this summer.

Rear Adm. Charles Williams, commander of Task Force 70, and Capt. Jeffrey Bennett, commander of Destroyer Squadron 15, were fired by Vice Adm. Phil Sawyer, the commander of the 7th Fleet, according to the Navy's statement.

Williams had tactical control of the fleet's cruisers, destroyers, Carrier Air Wing 5 and the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, while Bennett oversaw destroyers assigned to the 7th Fleet.

“Both reliefs were due to a loss of confidence in their ability to command,” the statement said.

Rear Adm. Marc Dalton, commander of Task Force 76, has taken over as commander of Task Force 70, and Capt. Jonathan Duffy, deputy commander of Destroyer Squadron 15, assumed duties as commander, the Navy added.

The Hill's Rebecca Kheel has more here

  

TRUMP CONSIDERS JULY 4TH MILITARY PARADE IN DC: President Trump on Monday told French President Emmanuel Macron he is considering having a massive military parade in Washington, D.C., on Independence Day after watching the Bastille Day celebrations on a recent trip to France.

In remarks alongside Macron during a New York trip to the United Nations, Trump marveled at the “military might” on display in Paris for Bastille Day and said seeing the parade inspired him to do something similar in the U.S.

“Because of what I witnessed, we may do something like that on July 4th in Washington down Pennsylvania [Avenue],” Trump said. “We're thinking ... of having a really great parade, to show our military strength.”

Trump also noted that the U.S. spent over $700 billion on military spending this year.

Read the rest here

 

ON TAP FOR TOMORROW:

Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson will testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee on recent ship collisions at 9:30 a.m. at the Dirksen Senate Office Building, room G-50. http://bit.ly/2juUgBy

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will consider the nominations of Jon Huntsman to be U.S. ambassador to Russia and Wess Mitchell to be assistant secretary of State for European and Eurasian affairs at 10 a.m. at Dirksen 419. http://bit.ly/2x4aRyZ

Top Air Force leaders, including Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein, will speak at the Air Force Association's annual Air and Space Conference at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md.

 

ICYMI:

-- The Hill: GOP senator calls on China, 20 other countries to cut ties with North Korea

-- The Hill: Feinstein pushes back on Trump's North Korea policy

-- The Hill: Poll: Majority doesn't trust Trump to handle North Korea

-- The Hill: Iran's president warns US will pay 'high cost' if Trump ditches nuclear deal

-- The Hill: McCain: Military readiness 'continues to suffer'

-- The Hill: North Korea: We'll speed up nuclear plans if more sanctions imposed

-- Defense News: Air Force to scrutinize science and technology investments in yearlong review

 

Please send tips and comments to Rebecca Kheel, rkheel@thehill.com, and Ellen Mitchell, emitchell@thehill.com.

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