Overnight Defense: McCain grills Trump's budget pick | Dems seek to limit Trump on nukes | Senators weigh new round of base closures

Overnight Defense: McCain grills Trump's budget pick | Dems seek to limit Trump on nukes | Senators weigh new round of base closures
© Greg Nash

THE TOPLINE: Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainClimate change is a GOP issue, too It's Joe Biden's 2020 presidential nomination to lose Meghan McCain on Pelosi-Trump feud: 'Put this crap aside' and 'work together for America' MORE (R-Ariz.) said Tuesday that President Trump's pick to lead the White House budget office was an "impediment" to supporting the U.S. military, questioning whether he took the issue seriously.

McCain called out Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), Trump's pick to lead the Office of Management and Budget, for a series of votes he made against increasing military funding and in favor of pulling U.S. troops from Afghanistan and Europe.

"Maybe you don't take it with the seriousness that it deserves," McCain said of supporting the military during Mulvaney's hearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

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Mulvaney has opposed major defense spending boosts before, while McCain and other defense hawks have supported them.

Mulvaney on Tuesday promised to support Trump's pledge to expand the military and defended his previous votes against funding as efforts to increase government transparency.

The Hill's Sylvan Lane has the story

 

MANCHIN TO BACK TRUMP'S STATE PICK: Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinSenate Democrats to House: Tamp down the impeachment talk The Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Senate panel approves Interior nominee over objections from Democrats MORE (D-W.Va) is throwing his support behind Rex Tillerson's nomination to be secretary of State, making him the first Democrat to support the President Trump nominee.

Manchin noted that he has known Tillerson "for years" and pointed to his executive experience leading Exxon Mobil Corp. as "critical."

"I have no hesitation in supporting Rex Tillerson's confirmation to be secretary of State after the Office of Government Ethics described his ethics agreement as a sterling model for what they would like to see from other nominees," Manchin said in a statement. 

The Hill's Jordain Carney has more here

 

MCCAIN FLOATS MILITARY BASE CLOSURES: Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Tuesday that he is "seriously considering" the possibility of closing excess military bases. 

McCain said during a committee hearing that he and Ranking Member Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedTrump defense pick expected to face tense confirmation Senate panel advances Trump's Space Force Senate panel rejects Trump plan to skirt budget caps, advances defense bill that backfills wall money MORE (D-R.I.) "are seriously considering the issue of [base closure and realignment (BRAC)]," referring to a process to close and consolidate bases.

Despite budget constraints in recent years, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have opposed closing excess military bases due to the negative impact it could have on local communities and constituents. 

The Hill's Kristina Wong has more here

 

DEMS SEEK TO LIMIT TRUMP ON NUKES: Two Democrats are pushing Congress to restrict President Trump's ability to launch nuclear weapons, reintroducing a bicameral bill Tuesday that would prohibit the president from launching a nuclear first strike without a declaration of war by Congress.

"Nuclear war poses the gravest risk to human survival," Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyHillicon Valley: Assange hit with 17 more charges | Facebook removes record 2.2B fake profiles | Senate passes anti-robocall bill | Senators offer bill to help companies remove Huawei equipment Senate passes anti-robocall bill The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pelosi fires back in feud with Trump MORE (D-Mass.) said in a statement. "Yet, President Trump has suggested that he would consider launching nuclear attacks against terrorists. Unfortunately, by maintaining the option of using nuclear weapons first in a conflict, U.S. policy provides him with that power."

Markey and Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) have long opposed America's first-strike policy, which says the country reserves the right to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike. Former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaIt's Joe Biden's 2020 presidential nomination to lose Assange hit with 17 new charges, including Espionage Act violations Progressive commentator says Obama was delusional thinking he could work with Republicans MORE reportedly weighed changing the policy before leaving office, but ultimately did not after advisers argued against it.

The Hill's Rebecca Kheel has more here

 

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