Overnight Defense: Mattis vows Dreamers in military won't be deported | Pentagon unsure if military parade will be in Washington | Dem bill would block funds for parade

Overnight Defense: Mattis vows Dreamers in military won't be deported | Pentagon unsure if military parade will be in Washington | Dem bill would block funds for parade
© Keren Carrion

THE TOPLINE: Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump takes 2020 roadshow to New Mexico Trump needs a national security adviser who 'speaks softly' US could deploy 150 troops to Syria: report MORE said Thursday that "Dreamers" serving in the military will not be deported, even if the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program expires.

"We would always stand by one of our people," Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon.

Matts said the protections apply to those who benefit from the program who are on active duty, in the active reserves, have already signed a contract with the military and are waiting to go to boot camp and veterans who left with an honorable discharge.

"They will not be subject to any kind of deportation," he said.

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There are two exceptions to the protection, Mattis noted: If someone has committed a serious felony, or if a federal judge has signed a final deportation order.

"That would be a judicial action that obviously we obey in the court system. We don't have veto authority over a court," Mattis said of the latter.

The Trump administration announced last year it was rescinding DACA, an Obama-era program that allows certain immigrants brought into the country illegally as children to live and work in the U.S. without fear of deportation. It also allows them to serve in the military.

About 900 DACA recipients are now enrolled in the armed forces or are awaiting boot camp, according to chief Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White.

The program is set to expire March 5, and is a linchpin of ongoing immigration negotiations in Congress.

Read the rest here.

 

SENATE REJECTS HOUSE FUNDING PLAN: The Senate on Thursday rejected a House plan to pair a full year of defense funding with a short-term spending fix for the rest of the government.

Senators voted 55-44 on the plan, which needed 60 votes to overcome a procedural hurdle.

Democratic Sens. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyLobbying world Trump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand GOP frets over nightmare scenario for Senate primaries MORE (Ind.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampThe Hill's Morning Report — Biden steadies in third debate as top tier remains the same Trump wins 60 percent approval in rural areas of key states Pence to push new NAFTA deal in visit to Iowa MORE (N.D.), Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinThe Hill's Morning Report - What is Trump's next move on Iran? Prospects for Trump gun deal grow dimmer The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation MORE (W.Va.), Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillEx-CIA chief worries campaigns falling short on cybersecurity Ocasio-Cortez blasts NYT editor for suggesting Tlaib, Omar aren't representative of Midwest Trump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand MORE (Mo.) and Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonAl Franken says he 'absolutely' regrets resigning Democrats target Florida Hispanics in 2020 Poll: Six Democrats lead Trump in Florida match-ups MORE (Fla.), who are all up for reelection this year, voted to advance the legislation. Sen. Catherine Cortez MastoCatherine Marie Cortez MastoMarijuana industry donations to lawmakers surge in 2019: analysis Female Democratic Senate candidates in Colorado ask DSCC to rescind Hickenlooper endorsement Democrats press Trump Treasury picks on donor disclosure guidelines MORE (D-Nev.) also broke with her party and supported the measure.

Republican Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulRand Paul: Almost every mass shooter 'is sending off signals' Liz Cheney says world is more stable, 'safer' under Trump Sunday shows preview: Democratic candidates make the rounds after debate MORE (Ky.) voted with Democrats against advancing the bill.

The outcome was widely expected after most Democrats warned they would not support the "cromnibus" -- part continuing resolution (CR), part omnibus.

The Hill's Jordain Carney has the rest here.

 

The Senate then turned its attention to a two-year budget deal that would raise the cap on discretionary defense spending by $80 billion in fiscal year 2018 and $85 billion in fiscal year 2019. Lawmakers must pass the measure by midnight to avoid a partial government shutdown. But in the upper chamber, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is delaying a vote, and in the House, GOP leaders are looking to shore up the votes.

 

MORE ON THE SENATE: Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is delaying a Senate vote on a funding bill to prevent a government shutdown, throwing Congress's timeline into limbo.

The House and Senate needs to pass the two-year budget deal, which includes a stopgap funding bill, by midnight Thursday in order to prevent the second shutdown in less than a month.

Paul is demanding 15 minutes of debate and a vote on an amendment to keep budget ceilings in place.

If he doesn't get it, he signaling that he's willing to delay a procedural vote until early Friday morning.

"If they want to stay up until 3 in the morning, I'm happy to do it," he said on Fox News late Thursday afternoon.

Under Senate rules, the earliest the chamber can take its first vote on the agreement is 1 a.m. Friday, after the deadline, unless every senator agrees to move it up.

The House won't hold a vote on the measure until it is approved by the Senate.

The Hill's Jordain Carney has more.

 

More on the shutdown standoff...

Over in the House, Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanThree-way clash set to dominate Democratic debate Krystal Ball touts Sanders odds in Texas Republicans pour cold water on Trump's term limit idea MORE (R-Wis.) says he has enough votes to pass the budget deal. Defense hawks are on board with the plan, but fiscal conservatives, including the House Freedom Caucus, are opposed. Click here for more on the House scramble for votes.

The budget deal will need Democratic votes to pass. House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPence says it's 'vital' for Congress to pass US-Mexico-Canada trade deal The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump heads to California Obama, Bush among those paying tribute to Cokie Roberts: 'A trailblazing figure' MORE (D-Calif.) says she still opposes the deal because it does not include protections for Dreamers, young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children. But Pelosi has also said she will not whip Democrats to vote against the bill.

The White House is telling agencies to prepare for a potential shutdown.
Late Thursday, House Minority Whip Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerDemocrats headed for a subpoena showdown with White House Election security funds caught in crosshairs of spending debate New storm rises over Kavanaugh MORE (D-Md.) urged Ryan to put together a one-day spending bill to prevent the government from shutting down at midnight if a vote is delayed.

The Hill's Alexander Bolton also breaks down what's in the budget deal.

 

DEMS INTRODUCE BILLS TO BLOCK FUNDS FOR TRUMP'S MILITARY PARADE: Two Democratic lawmakers are introducing legislation in the House and Senate that would block federal funds from being used to pay for President TrumpDonald John TrumpBusiness, ballots and battling opioids: Why the Universal Postal Union benefits the US Sanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth MORE's reported plan to hold a military parade. 

Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinCongress passes bill to begin scenic byways renaissance GOP lawmaker: 'Dangerous' abuse of Interpol by Russia, China, Venezuela Senators pressure Trump to help end humanitarian crisis in Kashmir MORE (D-Md.) and Rep. Marc VeaseyMarc Allison VeaseyWhy the Helsinki Commission still matters Lawmakers clash after Dem reads letter on House floor calling Trump supporters 'racist,' 'dumb' Democrats face voters clamoring for impeachment MORE (D-Texas) introduced bills in their respective chambers that would bar the Trump administration from using taxpayer money to fund such a parade, which could come with a multimillion dollar price tag.

In a letter to Senate colleagues, Cardin called on lawmakers to throw their support behind his measure.

"We have the best armed forces in the world. We don't need to flex our muscles to showcase our military hardware," Cardin wrote. "Our brave military men and women flex their might around the world every day on behalf of our nation." Read more about the bills here.

 

PARADE MIGHT NOT BE IN WASHINGTON: The Pentagon said Thursday that President Trump's vision of a large-scale military parade might not happen in Washington, D.C.

"We don't know that it will be in Washington," Defense Department chief spokeswoman Dana White told reporters Thursday when asked what cities are being considered for the parade's location.

"There are options and we will explore those and the president will ultimately decide."

The White House confirmed this week that Trump requested the Pentagon begin planning a military parade last month.

Pentagon officials have since stressed that the parade is still in initial planning stages and have given few details as to the cost, make-up and location of such an event, other than noting that the Army will take the lead on planning.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have blasted the idea as frivolous and a waste of Defense dollars at a time when the Pentagon is highlighting readiness issues.

Click here to read more.

 

More on the parade...

-- Planning begins for Trump's military parade

-- Biden: Military parade 'undercuts everything about our power'

-- Navy SEAL who says he killed bin Laden: 'A military parade is third world bulls---'

 

RUSSIAN CONTRACTORS MAY HAVE BEEN PART OF ATTACK ON US ALLIES IN SYRIA: U.S.-led coalition forces are looking into whether Russian contractors were involved in an attack against Syrian Democratic Forces on Wednesday.

U.S. Central Command reported Wednesday that forces supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad conducted an attack on Syrian rebels allied with the U.S., prompting retaliation strikes from coalition forces.

CNN reported Thursday afternoon that U.S. forces are now looking into whether Russian contractors were involved in the initial attack against U.S.-allied forces, which did not lead to any American casualties.

A U.S. official told the news outlet that it was unclear yet whether Russian operators in the region were involved, and that the U.S. had also not ruled out the possibility of the involvement of Iranian-backed forces.

Read more on the attack here.

 

The news comes as the U.S. on Thursday backed up the United Nations' call for a month-long ceasefire in Syria and urged Russia to use its sway with Damascus to ensure aid workers access to hard-hit rebel enclaves. 

Read about that here.

 

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