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 CorkerThe Memo: Romney moves stir worries in Trump World Senate GOP names first female members to Judiciary panel Former US special envoy to anti-ISIS coalition joins Stanford University as lecturer MORE (R-Tenn.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandMedia reliability questioned over report Trump directed lies to Congress Gillibrand defends past stances on immigration: I would tell voters, 'look at my heart’ Identity politics and the race for the Democratic nomination MORE (D-N.Y.), Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyBuzzFeed story has more to say about media than the president GOP insiders knock their depictions in new Dick Cheney biopic ‘Vice’ Barr: It would be a crime for president to pardon someone in exchange for their silence MORE (D-Vt.), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeHillicon Valley: Trump AG pick signals new scrutiny on tech giants | Wireless providers in new privacy storm | SEC brings charges in agency hack | Facebook to invest 0M in local news AG pick Barr wants closer scrutiny of Silicon Valley 'behemoths' Grassroots political participation is under attack in Utah and GOP is fighting back MORE (R-Utah), Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleySenate Dem on call for Nielsen investigation: I am 'sick and tired of this administration lying' Dem senator requests FBI investigate Nielsen for potential perjury Trump officials discussed ‘deterrent effect’ of prosecuting migrant parents: report MORE (D-Ore.), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulPressure mounts for Trump to reconsider Syria withdrawal House Republicans call for moving State of the Union to Senate chamber GOP rep: 'Rand Paul is giving the president bad advice' on Afghanistan and Syria MORE (R-Ky.), Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersIdentity politics and the race for the Democratic nomination 2020 Democrats barnstorm the country for MLK weekend Bill Maher defends Bernie Sanders campaign over sexual harassment allegations MORE (I-Vt.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenCongress should elevate those trapped in the gap – support ELEVATE Act IRS shutdown plan fails to quell worries IRS waiving penalty for some in first filing season under Trump's tax law MORE (D-Ore.) voted against the mammoth bill.

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GOP Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamExperts warn of persistent ISIS threat after suicide bombing Graham: Trump should meet Pakistan's leader to reset relations State of American politics is all power games and partisanship MORE (S.C.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioWashington fears new threat from 'deepfake' videos Overnight Defense: Second Trump-Kim summit planned for next month | Pelosi accuses Trump of leaking Afghanistan trip plans | Pentagon warns of climate threat to bases | Trump faces pressure to reconsider Syria exit Pressure mounts for Trump to reconsider Syria withdrawal MORE (Fla.), as well as Democratic Sen. Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezBuzzFeed story has more to say about media than the president More oversight of America’s international media networks a good idea Pro-Israel organizations should finally seek payback against Iran deal Dems 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 McCainListen, learn and lead: Congressional newcomers should leave the extremist tactics at home Overnight Defense: Trump unveils new missile defense plan | Dems express alarm | Shutdown hits Day 27 | Trump cancels Pelosi foreign trip | Senators offer bill to prevent NATO withdrawal Bipartisan senators reintroduce bill to prevent Trump from withdrawing from NATO MORE (R-Ariz.), stemmed around four proposals that lawmakers wanted a vote on, including a push by Sen. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonOn The Money: Shutdown Day 26 | Pelosi calls on Trump to delay State of the Union | Cites 'security concerns' | DHS chief says they can handle security | Waters lays out agenda | Senate rejects effort to block Trump on Russia sanctions Senate rejects effort to block Trump on Russia sanctions Overnight Defense: Trump faces blowback over report he discussed leaving NATO | Pentagon extends mission on border | Senate advances measure bucking Trump on Russia sanctions MORE (R-Ark.) to "end sequestration" and a measure from Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinBlagojevich's wife 'speechless' that officer's sentence less than half of husband's Trump pitches new plan to reopen government amid Dem pushback Democrats signal they'll reject Trump shutdown proposal 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 Energy: Pentagon report warns of climate threats to bases | Court halts offshore oil testing permits | Greens challenge federal drilling work during shutdown Overnight Defense: Second Trump-Kim summit planned for next month | Pelosi accuses Trump of leaking Afghanistan trip plans | Pentagon warns of climate threat to bases | Trump faces pressure to reconsider Syria exit Pentagon warns of threat to bases from climate change 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 MattisKerry rips Trump’s ‘pull-out, walk-away presidency’ Macron: US 'retreat from Syria' won't change mission to eradicate ISIS Poll: Most Americans want US troops in Syria 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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