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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 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.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandOcasio-Cortez, Gillibrand and Moulton call for more high-speed rail funding in infrastructure package Cosmetic chemicals need a makeover Overnight Defense: Austin and Milley talk budget, Afghanistan, sexual assault and more at wide-ranging Senate hearing MORE (D-N.Y.), Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyBipartisan lawmakers want Biden to take tougher action on Nicaragua Biden budget expands government's role in economy House narrowly approves .9B Capitol security bill after 'squad' drama MORE (D-Vt.), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeBig Tech critic Lina Khan named chair of the FTC GOP senators press Justice Department to compare protest arrests to Capitol riot Matt Stoller says cheerleading industry shows why antitrust laws are 'insufficient' MORE (R-Utah), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyDemocrat presses Haaland on oil and gas review The Hill's Morning Report - Dems to go-it-alone on infrastructure as bipartisan plan falters Democratic patience runs out on bipartisan talks MORE (D-Ore.), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulRand Paul does not support a national minimum wage increase — and it's important to understand why Fauci to Chelsea Clinton: The 'phenomenal amount of hostility' I face is 'astounding' GOP's attacks on Fauci at center of pandemic message MORE (R-Ky.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders opposes Biden Interior nominee in procedural vote Briahna Joy Gray on how Sanders changed the healthcare conversation Sanders 'delighted' DeSantis asked White House to import Canadian prescription drugs MORE (I-Vt.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenDemocrats shift tone on unemployment benefits Grassley meets with moderate House Democrats on lowering drug prices Four states emerge as test case for cutting off jobless benefits MORE (D-Ore.) voted against the mammoth bill.

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GOP Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamOn The Money: Yellen, Powell brush off inflation fears | Fed keeps rates steady, upgrades growth projections Democrats shift tone on unemployment benefits Bipartisan infrastructure group grows to 20 senators MORE (S.C.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioCyber concerns dominate Biden-Putin summit Nikki Haley warns Republicans on China: 'If they take Taiwan, it's all over' It's past time we elect a Black woman governor MORE (Fla.), as well as Democratic Sen. Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezSchumer says Senate will vote on repealing 2002 war authorization The Hill's Morning Report - Biden-Putin meeting to dominate the week Sanders drops bid to block Biden's Israel arms sale 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 McCainFive takeaways from the Biden-Putin summit Meghan McCain: Harris 'sounded like a moron' discussing immigration Arizona AG Mark Brnovich launches Senate challenge to Mark Kelly MORE (R-Ariz.), stemmed around four proposals that lawmakers wanted a vote on, including a push by Sen. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonCourt fines baker 0 for refusing to make gender transition cake Nikki Haley warns Republicans on China: 'If they take Taiwan, it's all over' Cotton warns of China collecting athletes' DNA at 2022 Olympics MORE (R-Ark.) to "end sequestration" and a measure from Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinSenate Judiciary Democrats demand DOJ turn over Trump obstruction memo Senate on collision course over Trump DOJ subpoenas Harris calls for pathway to citizenship for Dreamers on DACA anniversary 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 ReedJack ReedOvernight Defense: Pentagon details military construction projects getting .2B restored from wall funds | Biden chooses former commander to lead Navy | Bill seeks to boost visa program for Afghans who helped US Biden taps tech CEO, former destroyer commander to lead Navy Top general: Military justice overhaul proposed by Gillibrand 'requires some detailed study' 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 MattisBiden's is not a leaky ship of state — not yet Rejoining the Iran nuclear deal would save lives of US troops, diplomats The soft but unmatched power of US foreign exchange programs 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.

Follow us on Twitter: @thehill@Rebecca_H_K@EllenMitchell2