Week ahead: Lawmakers struggle to find path on defense spending

Week ahead: Lawmakers struggle to find path on defense spending
© Getty Images

All eyes are on Congress, as a partial government shutdown enters its third day.

Government funding expired at midnight on Friday after Senate Democrats rejected a House GOP-passed monthlong continuing resolution (CR).


Senate Democrats want an immigration fix in the bill. President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says his advice to impeachment defense team is 'just be honest' Trump expands tariffs on steel and aluminum imports CNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group MORE last year rescinded an Obama-era program that protected certain immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children from deportation. Democrats vowed to reject any spending bill that did not address the issue.

The Pentagon released guidance Friday on what would happen under the shutdown. Active-duty troops and civilians directly supporting them will continue to show up for work, but will not get paid until Congress acts. Other civilians will be furloughed.

Both sides dug in over the weekend, with the blame game heating up. But how lawmakers will find a deal to reopen the government and the path forward for a full year of defense spending remain unclear.

In order to secure the votes of conservatives on the CR, Republican House leaders promised to bring up a full year of defense appropriations later this month. Sen. Mike RoundsMarion (Mike) Michael RoundsDrug price outrage threatens to be liability for GOP Overnight Defense: Iran takes credit for rocket attack on US base | Trump briefed | Trump puts talk of Iraq withdrawal on hold | Progressives push to block funding for Iran war | Trump backs off threat to hit Iranian cultural sites McConnell to GOP on impeachment rules: I have the votes MORE (R-S.D.) likewise said he was promised the Senate would take up a defense appropriations bill in exchange for his vote on the CR.

But Democrats want to secure hikes to nondefense spending as well.

With the budget battles dragging on well into the fiscal year, the Pentagon continues to sound the alarm on damage to the force.

"For too long, we have asked our military to stoically carry a 'success at any cost' attitude as they work tirelessly to accomplish the mission with now inadequate and misaligned resources, simply because the Congress could not maintain regular order," Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisLawmakers push back at Pentagon's possible Africa drawdown Overnight Defense: Book says Trump called military leaders 'dopes and babies' | House reinvites Pompeo for Iran hearing | Dems urge Esper to reject border wall funding request Trump called top military brass 'a bunch of dopes and babies' in 2017: book MORE said in a speech Friday.

"The consequences of not providing a budget are clear. Without a sustained budget, ships will not receive the required maintenance to put to sea; the ships already at sea will be extended outside of port; aircraft will remain on the ground, their pilots not at the sharpest edge, and eventually, eventually ammunition, training and manpower will not be sufficient to deter war."

Think tanks have a number of events with U.S. officials on tap for next week. Some committee hearings were also scheduled as of Friday, but could be sidelined if the shutdown continues.

Former Pentagon acquisition head Frank Kendall will speak at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) on "charting a new course for the industrial base," 10 a.m. Monday in Washington. 

CIA Director Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoPompeo explodes at NPR reporter, asks if she could find Ukraine on a map Huawei endangers Western values The Hill's 12:30 Report: Democrats turn to obstruction charge MORE will speak on the Trump administration's national security challenges at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. 

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies will host a lunch conversation with Daniel Shapiro, former U.S. Ambassador to Israel, at noon Tuesday in Washington. 

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSchiff closes Democrats' impeachment arguments with emotional appeal to remove Trump Conservative reporter on Sanders: He's not a 'yes man' Democrats feel political momentum swinging to them on impeachment MORE will discuss an article he co-wrote in Foreign Affairs at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington. 

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzJordan says he thinks trial will be over by next week The Hill's Morning Report — Dems detail case to remove Trump for abuse of power GOP-Biden feud looms over impeachment trial MORE (R-Texas) will speak on "U.S. responses to the North Korean threat" at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Hudson Institute in Washington. 

A Senate Armed Services Committee subpanel will hear from military officials on "officer personnel management and the Defense Officer Personnel Management Act of 1980," at 3 p.m. Wednesday in the Russell Senate Office Building, room 222. 

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller will speak at CSIS at 9 a.m. Thursday. 

Former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Shultz, as well as former deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, will testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee on the U.S. national security strategy at 10 a.m. Thursday in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, room G-50. 

Gen. James Holmes, the commander of the Air Force's Air Combat Command, will speak at the Brookings Institution on the future of warfare and multidomain battle spaces at 10 a.m. Thursday in Washington. 

The CSIS will hear from military officials on "new operational concepts for integrated air and missile defense" at 2 p.m. Thursday in Washington. 

The Hudson Institute will hold a discussion on "sustaining U.S. leadership against nuclear terrorism and proliferation" at 10 a.m. Friday in Washington. 


Recent stories:

— China, Russia listed as top threats in Pentagon's new National Defense Strategy

— Ryan: Budget fights have pushed military 'past the breaking point' 

— Tillerson outlines plan for long-term US military role in Syria

— Graham: Seoul 'undercutting' Trump by allowing North Korea at Olympics

— House panel to hold hearing on false Hawaii missile alert

— Commanders at time of fatal ship collisions charged with homicide

— GOP chairman blames Democrats for defense budget holdup

— Pentagon planning two new nuclear weapons: report