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 TrumpComey responds to Trump with Mariah Carey gif: 'Why are you so obsessed with me?' Congress to get election security briefing next month amid Intel drama New York man accused of making death threats against Schumer, Schiff MORE's policies that Democrats find odious, underscoring Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiCongress to get election security briefing next month amid Intel drama New York man accused of making death threats against Schumer, Schiff Twitter, Facebook split on manipulated Bloomberg video 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-CortezDemocrats working to ensure Trump's second term Ocasio-Cortez announces slate of all-female congressional endorsements Ocasio-Cortez defends Warren against 'misogynist trope' MORE (N.Y.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarIlhan Omar accuses Meghan McCain of trafficking in 'anti-Muslim smears and hate speech' Sanders wins endorsement of top Muslim group Omar endorses progressive Georgia Democrat running for House seat MORE (Minn.), Collin PetersonCollin Clark PetersonSenate votes to acquit Trump on articles of impeachment Biden leads 2020 pack in congressional endorsements The Hill's Morning Report - Dems to lay out impeachment case to senators next week MORE (Minn.), Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyThere's no such thing as a free bus Don't let 'welfare for all' advocates derail administration's food stamp program reforms Tlaib says she held Omar's hand during 'triggering' moments at Trump's State of the Union speech MORE (Mass.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibSanders wins endorsement of top Muslim group Don't let 'welfare for all' advocates derail administration's food stamp program reforms Omar endorses progressive Georgia Democrat running for House seat 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 AmashBarr ensnared in Roger Stone firestorm House passes bipartisan bill to create women's history museum Weld bets on New Hampshire to fuel long shot bid against Trump MORE (Mich.), Mario Diaz-BalartMario Rafael Diaz-BalartOn The Money: Lawmakers strike spending deal | US, China reach limited trade deal ahead of tariff deadline | Lighthizer fails to quell GOP angst over new NAFTA House passes bill that would give legal status to thousands of undocumented farmworkers House passes stopgap as spending talks stall MORE (Fla.), Tom EmmerThomas (Tom) Earl EmmerTrump Jr. says Sanders won't be 'real competition' if he's the nominee House Democratic campaign arm raised .1 million in January Republicans sense momentum after impeachment win MORE (Minn.), Brian FitzpatrickBrian K. FitzpatrickDemocrats bullish on bill to create women's history museum: 'It's an election year' This week: Trump's budget lands with a thud on Capitol Hill House approves pro-union labor bill MORE (Pa.), Anthony GonzalezAnthony GonzalezSenators press NCAA on compensation for college athletes World Bank approves billion-plus annual China lending plan despite US objections Hillicon Valley: Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract in court | State antitrust investigation into Google expands | Intel agencies no longer collecting location data without warrant MORE (Ohio), Trey HollingsworthJoseph (Trey) Albert HollingsworthOvernight Defense: House passes bills to rein in Trump on Iran | Pentagon seeks Iraq's permission to deploy missile defenses | Roberts refuses to read Paul question on whistleblower during impeachment trial Here are the lawmakers who defected on Iran legislation House votes to rein in Trump's military authority MORE (Ind.), Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdGun control group plans to spend million in Texas in 2020 Trump to attend California fundraiser with Oracle chairman The Hill's Morning Report - Nearing witness vote, GOP rushes to acquit Trump MORE (Texas), John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoHillicon Valley: Officials worry about Nevada caucus technology after Iowa | Pelosi joins pressure campaign on Huawei | Workers at Kickstarter vote to unionize | Bezos launches B climate initiative Tech for Nevada caucuses under scrutiny after Iowa debacle Hillicon Valley: Judge approves T-Mobile, Sprint merger | FTC to review past Big Tech deals | State officials ask for more cybersecurity help | House nears draft bill on self-driving cars MORE (N.Y.) and Tom ReedThomas (Tom) W. ReedThis week: Trump's budget lands with a thud on Capitol Hill Cuccinelli: New York reintroduced 'the main problem' that allowed 9/11 New Yorkers blocked from Global Entry program over immigrant license law 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. LieuDemocrats to plow ahead with Trump probes post-acquittal Trump Jr. dismisses 'likelihood' of Pelosi praying for Trump with Satan comparison Ted Lieu says he's praying for Trump after National Prayer Breakfast comments 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 CheneyOvernight Defense: GOP lawmaker takes unannounced trip to Syria | Taliban leader pens New York Times op-ed on peace talks | Cheney blasts paper for publishing op-ed Liz Cheney blasts NYT for publishing op-ed by Taliban leader Minnesota congressman diagnosed with cancer MORE (R-Wyo.) to restore $19.6 million for new low-yield sub-launched nuclear warheads.

An amendment from Rep. Mike GallagherMichael (Mike) John GallagherPelosi joins pressure campaign on Huawei Hillicon Valley: Tech confronts impact of coronavirus | House GOP offers resolution to condemn UK over Huawei | YouTube lays out plans to tackle 2020 misinformation GOP lawmakers introduce resolution denouncing UK's Huawei decision 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 SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerNew York man accused of making death threats against Schumer, Schiff Top GOP super PAC spent money on NC Democrat Hillicon Valley: Intel officials warned lawmakers Russia interfering in 2020 | Pompeo condemns Russian cyberattack on country of Georgia | Tech activists see Kickstarter union as breakthrough | Pentagon agency suffers data breach 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 MnuchinThe Hill's Morning Report — Sanders, Dems zero in on Super Tuesday Bloomberg proposes financial transaction tax GOP senators offering bill to cement business provision in Trump tax law 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 McConnellTop GOP super PAC spent money on NC Democrat Everytown plans ad blitz on anniversary of House background check bill Kentucky state official says foreign adversaries 'routinely' scan election systems 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 CarperOvernight Energy: EPA to regulate 'forever chemicals' in drinking water | Trump budget calls for slashing funds for climate science centers | House Dems urge banks not to fund drilling in Arctic refuge EPA will regulate 'forever chemicals' in drinking water The Trump administration's harmful and immoral attack on children MORE (D-Del.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandNow is the time for a US data protection agency The Hill's Campaign Report: Warren up, Bloomberg down after brutal debate Ginsburg, accepting lifetime achievement award, urges working fathers to take an active role in kids' lives MORE (D-N.Y.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisHouse to vote on legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime Overnight Energy: EPA to regulate 'forever chemicals' in drinking water | Trump budget calls for slashing funds for climate science centers | House Dems urge banks not to fund drilling in Arctic refuge Democratic senators criticize plan that could expand Arctic oil and gas development MORE (D-Calif.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharPoll: Bloomberg stalls after Vegas debate Washington Post fact-checker gives Bloomberg 4 Pinocchios for 'deceptive editing' in campaign ad The Hill's 12:30 Report: Dem anxiety grows ahead of Super Tuesday MORE (D-Minn.), Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyKennedy, Markey neck-and-neck in Massachusetts primary: poll Overnight Energy: EPA to regulate 'forever chemicals' in drinking water | Trump budget calls for slashing funds for climate science centers | House Dems urge banks not to fund drilling in Arctic refuge Democratic senators criticize plan that could expand Arctic oil and gas development MORE (D-Mass.), Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyOvernight Energy: EPA to regulate 'forever chemicals' in drinking water | Trump budget calls for slashing funds for climate science centers | House Dems urge banks not to fund drilling in Arctic refuge Democratic senators criticize plan that could expand Arctic oil and gas development Senate Dems blast Barr for 'clear violation' of duty in Stone case, urge him to resign MORE (D-Ore.), Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallButtigieg expands on climate plan with new proposals Climate change a rising concern for Western voters, poll finds Greenpeace says many plastics are not actually recyclable MORE (D-N.M.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenPoll: Bloomberg stalls after Vegas debate Bloomberg unveils billboards to troll Trump ahead of campaign stops John Legend joining Warren in South Carolina next week: report MORE (D-Mass.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseDemocratic senators ask DOJ watchdog to expand Giuliani probe Democrats pan Trump's budget proposal as 'dead on arrival' Trump unveils .8 trillion budget that backtracks on deal with Congress MORE (D-R.I.), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenGraham: Trump has 'all the legal authority in the world' to pardon Stone Overnight Health Care: Senate panel to hold hearing on US coronavirus response | Dems demand Trump withdraw religious provider rule | Trump Medicaid proposal sparks bipartisan backlash Democrats demand Trump administration withdraw religious provider rule MORE (D-Ore.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersPoll: Bloomberg stalls after Vegas debate Prominent Texas Latina endorses Warren Bloomberg campaign: Vandalism at Tennessee office 'echoes language from the Sanders campaign and its supporters' 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) MenendezMenendez calls for 'Marie Yovanovitch bill' to protect foreign service employees Senators condemn UN 'blacklisting' of US companies in Israeli settlements Media's selective outrage exposed in McSally-Raju kerfuffle 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