Overnight Defense: House passes $1T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record

Overnight Defense: House passes $1T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record
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Happy Wednesday and welcome to Overnight Defense. I'm Rebecca Kheel, and here's your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond. CLICK HERE to subscribe to the newsletter.

 

THE TOPLINE: A $1 trillion spending package that includes defense money is through the House, but that's about as far as it's going for now.

Democrats on Wednesday muscled through the spending bill that attempts to block several of President TrumpDonald John TrumpSteele Dossier sub-source was subject of FBI counterintelligence probe Pelosi slams Trump executive order on pre-existing conditions: It 'isn't worth the paper it's signed on' Trump 'no longer angry' at Romney because of Supreme Court stance MORE's policies that Democrats find odious, underscoring Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi slams Trump executive order on pre-existing conditions: It 'isn't worth the paper it's signed on' On The Money: Anxious Democrats push for vote on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi, Mnuchin ready to restart talks | Weekly jobless claims increase | Senate treads close to shutdown deadline Trump signs largely symbolic pre-existing conditions order amid lawsuit MORE's (D-Calif.) argument that the House can work as a check on the administration.

Lawmakers passed the spending package in a 226-203 vote that fell largely along party lines. Seven Democrats voted against the measure, as did all Republicans.

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The seven Democrats who voted against the measure were Reps. Denny HeckDennis (Denny) Lynn HeckExclusive: Guccifer 2.0 hacked memos expand on Pennsylvania House races Heck enjoys second political wind Incoming lawmaker feeling a bit overwhelmed MORE (Wash.), Ben McAdams (Utah), Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOn The Money: Anxious Democrats push for vote on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi, Mnuchin ready to restart talks | Weekly jobless claims increase | Senate treads close to shutdown deadline McCarthy says there will be a peaceful transition if Biden wins Anxious Democrats amp up pressure for vote on COVID-19 aid MORE (N.Y.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarOmar fires back at Trump over rally remarks: 'This is my country' Trump attacks Omar for criticizing US: 'How did you do where you came from?' Democrats scramble on COVID-19 relief amid division, Trump surprise MORE (Minn.), Collin PetersonCollin Clark PetersonKate Schroder in Ohio among Democratic challengers squelching GOP hopes for the House The Hill's Campaign Report: 19 years since 9/11 | Dem rival to Marjorie Taylor Greene drops out | Collin Peterson faces fight of his career | Court delivers blow to ex-felon voting rights in Florida Peterson faces fight of his career in deep-red Minnesota district MORE (Minn.), Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyFauci, Black Lives Matter founders included on Time's 100 Most Influential People list Trump attacks Omar for criticizing US: 'How did you do where you came from?' Pressley applauded on House floor after moving speech on living with alopecia MORE (Mass.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibTrump attacks Omar for criticizing US: 'How did you do where you came from?' George Conway: 'Trump is like a practical joke that got out of hand' Pelosi endorses Kennedy in Massachusetts Senate primary challenge MORE (Mich.).

While the legislation is unlikely to become law in its current form, it nonetheless gives Pelosi more leverage in spending talks with Senate Republicans, who have not passed any government funding bills for fiscal 2020.

In addition to defense, the bill includes the other largest government spending bill, Labor, Health and Human Services and Education. It also covers funding bills for foreign operations and energy and water.

Defense specifics: The so-called minibus folded in the $690.2 billion Pentagon spending bill for fiscal 2020.

Several defense amendments also got floor votes.

In a Tuesday night vote, Democrats added in language that would block funds from being used to ban transgender people from serving in the military.

The transgender amendment was approved 243-183. Nine Republicans voted in support of the measure: Reps. Justin AmashJustin AmashInternal Democratic poll shows tight race in contest to replace Amash Centrist Democrats 'strongly considering' discharge petition on GOP PPP bill On The Trail: How Nancy Pelosi could improbably become president MORE (Mich.), Mario Diaz-BalartMario Rafael Diaz-Balart'Trump show' convention sparks little interest on K Street Rep. Dan Meuser tests positive for COVID-19 Watchdog calls for probe into Gohmert 'disregarding public health guidance' on COVID-19 MORE (Fla.), Tom EmmerThomas (Tom) Earl EmmerHouse Democrats' campaign arm reserves .6M in ads in competitive districts The Hill's Convention Report: Trump to attack Biden at final night of convention | Speech comes amid hurricane, racial justice protests | Biden accuses Trump of 'rooting' for violence Republicans cast Trump as best choice for women MORE (Minn.), Brian FitzpatrickBrian K. FitzpatrickHopes for DC, Puerto Rico statehood rise Florida Democrat introduces bill to recognize Puerto Rico statehood referendum DCCC reserves new ad buys in competitive districts, adds new members to 'Red to Blue' program MORE (Pa.), Anthony GonzalezAnthony GonzalezHillicon Valley: DOJ indicts Chinese, Malaysian hackers accused of targeting over 100 organizations | GOP senators raise concerns over Oracle-TikTok deal | QAnon awareness jumps in new poll House passes legislation to boost election security research Ex-NFL receiver Rep. Anthony Gonzalez: Big Ten skipping football season could be 'catastrophic' for athletes MORE (Ohio), Trey HollingsworthJoseph (Trey) Albert HollingsworthHillicon Valley: Twitter flags Trump campaign tweet of Biden clip as manipulated media | Democrats demand in-person election security briefings resume | Proposed rules to protect power grid raise concerns Lawmakers call for bipartisan push to support scientific research The Hill's 12:30 Report: Presidential race tightens in key states MORE (Ind.), Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdHillicon Valley: Oracle confirms deal with TikTok to be 'trusted technology provider' | QAnon spreads across globe, shadowing COVID-19 | VA hit by data breach impacting 46,000 veterans House approves bill to secure internet-connected federal devices against cyber threats House Democrats' campaign arm reserves .6M in ads in competitive districts MORE (Texas), John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoThis week: House returns for pre-election sprint Hillicon Valley: Simulated cyberattack success | New bill for election security funding | Amazon could be liable for defective products Lawmakers introduce bill to help election officials address cyber vulnerabilities MORE (N.Y.) and Tom ReedThomas (Tom) W. ReedCentrist House group offers bipartisan COVID-19 relief deal House approves two child care bills aimed at pandemic Diabetes Caucus co-chairs say telehealth expansion to continue beyond pandemic MORE (Ill.).

One Democrat, Rep. Collin Peterson (Minn.), voted against the amendment.

In another amendment vote of note, lawmakers approved in a 237-191 vote an amendment from Rep. Ted LieuTed W. LieuThe spin on Woodward's tapes reveals the hypocrisy of Democrats Larry Kudlow defends response to coronavirus: Trump 'led wisely' Lieu on Trump 'playing it down' on coronavirus: 'This is reckless homicide' MORE (D-Calif.) to block funding for Trump's arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Meanwhile, lawmakers rejected 192-236 an amendment from Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyGOP lawmakers distance themselves from Trump comments on transfer of power Graham vows GOP will accept election results after Trump comments Liz Cheney promises peaceful transfer of power: 'Fundamental to the survival of our Republic' MORE (R-Wyo.) to restore $19.6 million for new low-yield sub-launched nuclear warheads.

An amendment from Rep. Mike GallagherMichael (Mike) John GallagherGovernment watchdog recommends creation of White House cyber director position Hillicon Valley: 'Fortnite' owner sues Apple after game is removed from App Store | Federal agencies seize, dismantle cryptocurrency campaigns of major terrorist organizations Lawmakers introduce bill designating billion to secure state and local IT systems MORE (R-Wis.) to boost funding for research and development for a conventional missile system that falls in the range of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty was also rejected, 203-225.

What's next: The House is now considering another minibus that's off interest to defense watchers for including military construction funding.

Congressional leaders from both parties and the White House also need to work out a larger budget deal for any spending bill to become law.

They met Wednesday in Pelosi's office to that end, but failed to reach an agreement.

In a joint statement, Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerPelosi slams Trump executive order on pre-existing conditions: It 'isn't worth the paper it's signed on' 3 reasons why Biden is misreading the politics of court packing Cruz blocks amended resolution honoring Ginsburg over language about her dying wish MORE (D-N.Y.) seemed to put the blame on the administration.

"If the House and Senate could work their will without interference from the President, we could come to a good agreement much more quickly," the two leaders said after the meeting.

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOn The Money: Anxious Democrats push for vote on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi, Mnuchin ready to restart talks | Weekly jobless claims increase | Senate treads close to shutdown deadline Vulnerable Democrats tell Pelosi COVID-19 compromise 'essential' Pelosi asks panels to draft new COVID-19 relief measure MORE, who attended Wednesday's meeting, laid out the GOP's Plan B if no deal is reached. That plan would freeze current spending levels and prevent deep spending cuts from going into effect if no agreement is reached before the end of September.

 

SAUDI VOTES SET FOR THURSDAY: The Senate will vote Thursday to block President Trump's controversial arms sales to Saudi Arabia, paving the way for a showdown with the White House.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump 'no longer angry' at Romney because of Supreme Court stance On The Money: Anxious Democrats push for vote on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi, Mnuchin ready to restart talks | Weekly jobless claims increase | Senate treads close to shutdown deadline The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump faces backlash after not committing to peaceful transition of power MORE (R-Ky.) said that the Senate would vote Thursday on resolutions to block Trump's deal, which consists of 22 sales that would also send weapons to the United Arab Emirates and Jordan.

There will be two standalone votes on resolutions to block sales to Saudi Arabia. Senators will then have a third vote that would condense the remaining 20 resolutions of disapproval into one vote.

The resolutions blocking Trump's arms sale are expected to be able to pass the Senate, where they only need a simple majority. At least four Republicans are expected to vote with all 47 Democrats to block the arms deal.

House Democrats have also pledged to block the sales, setting the stage for a massive veto showdown with Trump. Neither chamber is expected to have the votes to override the vetoes.

 

NDAA WATCH: The defense policy bill is also chugging along. The Senate on Wednesday took the first procedural vote on its version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The Senate approved the motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed in an 88-11 vote. Sens. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperThe conservative case for phasing out hydrofluorocarbons Democrat asks for probe of EPA's use of politically appointed lawyers Overnight Energy: Study links coronavirus mortality to air pollution exposure | Low-income, minority households pay more for utilities: report MORE (D-Del.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandSunday shows preview: Justice Ginsburg dies, sparking partisan battle over vacancy before election Suburban moms are going to decide the 2020 election Jon Stewart urges Congress to help veterans exposed to burn pits MORE (D-N.Y.), Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisHundreds of lawyers from nation's oldest African American sorority join effort to fight voter suppression Biden picks up endorsement from progressive climate group 350 Action 3 reasons why Biden is misreading the politics of court packing MORE (D-Calif.), Amy KlobucharAmy Klobuchar3 reasons why Biden is misreading the politics of court packing Social media platforms put muscle into National Voter Registration Day Battle lines drawn on precedent in Supreme Court fight MORE (D-Minn.), Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John Markey3 reasons why Biden is misreading the politics of court packing Democrats shoot down talk of expanding Supreme Court Schumer: 'Nothing is off the table' if GOP moves forward with Ginsburg replacement MORE (D-Mass.), Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - Trump, Biden renew push for Latino support Sunday shows - Trump team defends coronavirus response Oregon senator says Trump's blame on 'forest management' for wildfires is 'just a big and devastating lie' MORE (D-Ore.), Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallLWCF modernization: Restoring the promise OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats tee up vote on climate-focused energy bill next week | EPA reappoints controversial leader to air quality advisory committee | Coronavirus creates delay in Pentagon research for alternative to 'forever chemicals' Senate Democrats demand White House fire controversial head of public lands agency MORE (D-N.M.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenHillicon Valley: Subpoenas for Facebook, Google and Twitter on the cards | Wray rebuffs mail-in voting conspiracies | Reps. raise mass surveillance concerns On The Money: Anxious Democrats push for vote on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi, Mnuchin ready to restart talks | Weekly jobless claims increase | Senate treads close to shutdown deadline Democratic senators ask inspector general to investigate IRS use of location tracking service MORE (D-Mass.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump previews SCOTUS nominee as 'totally brilliant' Feinstein 'surprised and taken aback' by suggestion she's not up for Supreme Court fight Hillicon Valley: Murky TikTok deal raises questions about China's role | Twitter investigating automated image previews over apparent algorithmic bias | House approves bill making hacking federal voting systems a crime MORE (D-R.I.), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenHillicon Valley: Subpoenas for Facebook, Google and Twitter on the cards | Wray rebuffs mail-in voting conspiracies | Reps. raise mass surveillance concerns On The Money: Anxious Democrats push for vote on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi, Mnuchin ready to restart talks | Weekly jobless claims increase | Senate treads close to shutdown deadline Democratic senators ask inspector general to investigate IRS use of location tracking service MORE (D-Ore.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill's Campaign Report: Trump faces backlash after not committing to peaceful transition of power Bernie Sanders: 'This is an election between Donald Trump and democracy' The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump stokes fears over November election outcome MORE (I-Vt.) voted against the motion.

 

UN NOMINEE DEFENDS CLIMATE RECORD: Trump's pick to be U.S. ambassador to the U.N. appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday.

The big headline came from her comments on climate change.

Kelly Craft said humans have "contributed" to climate change and vowed to press for global action if she's confirmed -- but stressed that she doesn't think the United States should take on an "outsized burden" in tackling the issue.

Craft, the wife of a coal executive, also pledged to recuse herself from matters involving coal.

"Climate change needs to be addressed, as it poses real risks to our planet. Human behavior has contributed to the changing climate," Craft said. "Let there be no doubt: I will take this matter seriously, and if confirmed, I will be an advocate for all countries to do their part in addressing climate change.

"This does not mean, in my view, that the United States should imperil American jobs -- or our economy as a whole -- by assuming an outsized burden on behalf of the rest of the world," she continued. "However, it does mean that we should promote the creativity and innovation that have made the United States a leader in tackling the challenges of our environment -- all while safeguarding our nation's economic well-being."

Craft's comments on climate change sought to manage fallout from a 2017 interview where she said "there are scientists on both sides that are accurate" about whether climate change exists, despite the scientific consensus that it does.

Questions on experience: Before becoming the ambassador to Canada, Craft was best known as a top Republican donor active in Kentucky politics and as the wife of a coal executive with ties to the Trump administration.

As such, Craft's level of experience was a top concern from Democrats on Wednesday as they questioned whether she will be able to represent the United States at the U.N. at a time of international turmoil, including amid heightened tensions with Iran and North Korea.

"I have deep reservations about your lack of qualifications for such a complex and challenging role," the committee's top Democrat, Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezKasie Hunt to host lead-in show for MSNBC's 'Morning Joe' Senators ask for removal of tariffs on EU food, wine, spirits: report VOA visa decision could hobble Venezuela coverage MORE (D-N.J.) told Craft. "Historically, U.S. ambassadors to the U.N. have brought significant executive experience, or experience working directly in foreign policy."

 

ON TAP FOR TOMORROW

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for several ambassador nominees at 9:45 a.m. at the Dirksen Senate Office Building, room 419. https://bit.ly/31HJlX7

The House Foreign Affairs Committee will mark up several bill at 10 a.m. at the Rayburn House Office Building, room 2172. https://bit.ly/2Rltf0q

The House Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing on the Pentagon's deployments to the southern border at 10 a.m. at the Cannon House Office Building, room 310. https://bit.ly/2WQm1mn

A House Foreign Affairs subcommittee will hold a hearing on the State Department budget at 3 p.m. at Rayburn 2172. https://bit.ly/2RnC1Ly

 

ICYMI

-- The Hill: Trump envoy to North Korea: 'Door is wide open' for talks

-- The Hill: Navy explosives expert: Mines used in tanker attack have 'striking resemblance' to Iranian weapons

-- The Hill: Opinion: Is America headed toward war?

-- Bloomberg: Trump weighs new sanctions on Turkey over Russian missiles

-- Associated Press: 'Joints will be separated': Jamal Khashoggi's murder, retold