Overnight Defense: House passes defense spending bill in symbolic vote | Official resigns, worker fired for Hawaii fake missile alert | General says US would have 'minutes' of warning time after N. Korea launch

Overnight Defense: House passes defense spending bill in symbolic vote | Official resigns, worker fired for Hawaii fake missile alert | General says US would have 'minutes' of warning time after N. Korea launch
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THE TOPLINE: The House on Tuesday passed a $659.2 billion defense spending bill for fiscal 2018 in a largely symbolic move.

The bill, which was approved in a 250-166 mostly party-line vote, is unlikely to be enacted into law as a larger deal to raise budget caps continues to be worked out. Four Republicans voted "no," while 23 Democrats voted "yes."

The passage provides an opportunity for Republicans to tout their commitment to increasing the defense budget ahead of Tuesday night's State of the Union address.

"Congress must act responsibly and do its job to quickly get these dollars out the door and where they're needed as soon as possible," Rep. Kay GrangerNorvell (Kay) Kay GrangerThe stakes are sky-high for the pro-life cause in the upcoming midterms Bipartisanship alive and well, protecting critical infrastructure McCarthy's path to Speaker gets more complicated MORE (R-Texas), chairwoman of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, said on the House floor.


"All federal dollars are not the same," she added. "We need to provide and prioritize national security after years of neglect in an increasingly dangerous international situation."

Prior to Tuesday, the House already passed defense appropriations for fiscal 2018 twice. But the Senate has not voted on a defense spending bill because Congress has yet to agree to a budget deal that would set the top-line dollar figure for defense and nondefense funding.

Tuesday's third vote on the bill came after House Republican leadership promised defense hawks and the conservative Freedom Caucus it would take up the bill again in exchange for their votes on a stopgap spending measure.

Sen. Mike RoundsMarion (Mike) Michael RoundsOn The Money: Treasury rules target blue-state workarounds to tax law | Senate approves sweeping defense, domestic spending bill | US imposes B in tariffs on Chinese goods | Panel narrowly approves consumer bureau pick Senate panel narrowly approves Trump consumer bureau pick GOP sen: Sessions is ‘the right man for the job’ MORE (R-S.D.) has said he received a similar assurance that the Senate would vote on a separate defense spending bill. But it is unlikely to pass given Democrats are needed to meet a 60-vote threshold to approve legislation in the upper chamber.

The Hill's Rebecca Kheel has more here.


TOP GENERAL: US WOULD HAVE 'MINUTES' OF WARNING TIME IF NORTH KOREA LAUNCHED MISSILE: The U.S. would likely only have a warning time of a "dozen minutes or so" if North Korea launched a missile in its direction, the military's second highest-ranking official said Tuesday.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Chairman Gen. Paul Selva said Pyongyang had cut the warning time down from an hour thanks to its use of mobile launch trucks, so much so that the U.S. would likely not be able to get an early warning "other than if we got lucky and saw the movement of the launch mechanism to the launch platform."

Yet Selva said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is still unable to strike the U.S. with an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) as far as the Pentagon has observed.

"What he has not demonstrated yet are the fusing and targeting technologies and survivable re-entry vehicle," Selva said.

"It is possible he has them, so we have to place the bet that he might have them, but he hasn't demonstrated them."

Read the rest of Selva's comments here.


TOP OFFICIAL RESIGNS, WORKER FIRED AFTER HAWAII FALSE MISSILE ALERT: The head of Hawaii's Emergency Management Agency has resigned and the employee who issued a false missile alert to the state earlier this month has been fired, officials announced Tuesday.

Vern Miyagi, the agency's administrator, resigned effective Tuesday, State Adjutant General Joe Logan said at a news conference alongside Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D).

Bruce Oliveira, the state's lead investigator on the incident, said the employee became confused after realizing that he had issued the false alert and a colleague had to take over his responsibilities.

Logan said during the news conference that another employee has also resigned and one more is in the process of being suspended without pay, though he did not identify those workers.

Read about that here.


Oliveira also said that in the past 10 years, the fired employee had confused drill situations for real world situations "at least two times." One mistake was on a drill for a fire, while another was on a drill for a tsunami, he said.

More on that here.


US RELEASES VIDEO OF RUSSIAN JET FLYING WITHIN 5 FT OF NAVY PLANE: The U.S. on Tuesday released a video showing a Russian military jet flying within 5 feet of a U.S. Navy surveillance plane. 

The video, taken while the U.S. plane was flying in international airspace over the Black Sea, shows the Russian Su-27 jet veering directly into the EP-3 Aries's flight path

According to U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, the Russian fighter also crossed directly into the U.S. plane's flight path. 

Officials said in a statement that the U.S. aircraft did not provoke the Russian fighter. The EP-3 was operating in accordance with international law, they added. 

Read more here. 



 Former Marines commandant retired Gen. James Conway and former Turkish armed forces attaché retired Maj. Gen. Ahmet Bertan Nogaylaroglu will talk about the U.S.-Turkish alliance at 1 p.m. at the National Press Club. http://bit.ly/2rCXCXe



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