OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: No defense bill before election

On a related note, the House and Senate versions of the bill are about $3 billion apart on their bottom lines, as a result of differences over the Budget Control Act spending caps. Neither bill takes into account the $55 billion cut for 2013 that would occur Jan. 2 under sequestration.

ADVERTISEMENT

McCain slammed Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidHarry Reid calls on Democrats to plow forward on immigration Democrats brace for tough election year in Nevada The Memo: Biden's horizon is clouded by doubt MORE (D-Nev.) for not bringing the bill up in July, where he referenced a streak you’ll hear repeated plenty before the end of the year: the Defense authorization bill has passed for 50 straight years.

McCain wants Obama to invite him over: Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMeghan McCain: 'SNL' parodies made me feel like 'laughing stock of the country' Our military shouldn't be held hostage to 'water politics' Meghan McCain blames 'toxic' hostility for 'The View' exit MORE (R-Ariz.) has begun floating a 3-month delay for sequestration, but he said the plan to delay the cuts wouldn’t go anywhere without the president’s involvement. McCain told reporters Tuesday that he wants President Obama to call lawmakers to the White House so that the cuts can actually get fixed, a refrain he’s used many times over the past few months to little avail.

“I want him to call us over to the White House and say, 'What do we need to do to fix this?' ” McCain said. 

“That’s what presidents are supposed to do. That’s why his title is commander in chief, not mine,” McCain said. “I wish it were,” he added with a laugh.

Meanwhile, Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl LevinCarl Milton LevinOvernight Defense: First group of Afghan evacuees arrives in Virginia | Biden signs Capitol security funding bill, reimbursing Guard | Pentagon raises health protection level weeks after lowering it Biden pays tribute to late Sen. Levin: 'Embodied the best of who we are' Former Colorado Gov. Richard Lamm dead at 85 MORE (D-Mich.) told reporters Tuesday that he was confident sequestration would not happen because no one wants it to.

McCain and Graham weigh in on Netanyahu: Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamMayorkas tests positive for COVID-19 breakthrough case A pandemic of hyper-hypocrisy is infecting American politics Republicans' mantra should have been 'Stop the Spread' MORE (R-S.C.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said they were “surprised and disappointed” by reports that President Obama allegedly denied a request to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “It is puzzling that the President can't make time to see the head of state of one of America's closest allies in the world,” the senators said in a statement Tuesday evening.

“If these reports are true, the White House's decision sends a troubling signal to our ally Israel about America's commitment at this dangerous and challenging time, especially as Iran continues to work actively toward developing a nuclear weapons capability.”

White House spokesman Tommy Vietor denied the rumors of a snub by Obama, saying the two could not meet because of scheduling. But it will still provide fodder for Republicans ahead of the election, as McCain and Graham showed; the GOP and Mitt Romney have accused Obama of not supporting Israel and criticized the president for not taking a hard enough line on Iran.

Shields up in the East: For months, House Republicans have been trying to make their case for an East Coast missile shield. On Tuesday, their argument picked a key endorsement. A study released by the National Research Council, a subsidiary of the National Academy of Sciences, claimed a new missile shield on the eastern seaboard would help close critical gaps in the existing U.S. defenses.

The council's findings fly in the face of the White House's strategy of building a new missile shield in Eastern Europe. But it does bolster House GOP calls for an East Coast shield. Earlier this year, House Republicans pushed through legislation funding a new East Coast shield to be built by 2015.

Put a cork in it: Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerCheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP How leaving Afghanistan cancels our post-9/11 use of force The unflappable Liz Cheney: Why Trump Republicans have struggled to crush her  MORE (R-Tenn.) is doing all he can to put a cork — pun intended — in Iran's efforts to circumvent current economic sanctions. In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMeghan McCain: 'SNL' parodies made me feel like 'laughing stock of the country' Hill: Trump reelection would spur 'one constitutional crisis after another' Trump defends indicted GOP congressman MORE sent Tuesday, Corker demanded the department do all it can to ensure Egypt was not helping Tehran smuggle out illegal oil shipments.

The sanctions imposed by the United States and its allies are designed to force Iran to abandon its controversial nuclear program. Tehran claims the program is geared toward peaceful means. The United States and Israel claim the program is designed to create an atomic weapon. Recent reports claim Iraq and now Egypt have been assisting the Iranian government in oil sales. If true, Corker argued that assistance "stands as an affront to our strong efforts" to get Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions. 

Dem lawmaker targets Academi: Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.) wants the State Department and Pentagon to either suspend or debar Academi, formerly known as Xe and as Blackwater, from receiving government contracts. Tierney, ranking member of the House Oversight National Security subcommittee said the recent settlement with the Eastern District of North Carolina’s U.S. Attorney detailed “multiple alleged violations” of arms export controls and federal firearms laws. He urged DOD and State to re-evaluate the case and consider contract suspension or debarment with the company that’s changed its name twice since the days it was Blackwater. 


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

— US vulnerable to missile attack

— Levin: Sequestration will not happen

— Netanyahu criticizes US on Iran

— GOP leaders invoke 9/11 on defense cuts

— Obama marks 9/11 anniversary at Pentagon


Please send tips and comments to Jeremy Herb, jherb@thehill.com, and Carlo Munoz, cmunoz@thehill.com.

Follow us on Twitter: @DEFCONHill, @JHerbTheHill, @CMunozTheHill

You can sign up to receive this overnight update via email on The Hill’s homepage.