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 TrumpEsper sidesteps question on whether he aligns more with Mattis or Trump Warren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' As tensions escalate, US must intensify pressure on Iran and the IAEA MORE's policies that Democrats find odious, underscoring Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse Democrat pushes for censuring Trump in closed-door meeting Trump: I don't have a racist bone in my body Ocasio-Cortez responds to fresh criticism from Trump 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-CortezPhiladelphia mayor: Trump would 'go to hell' if he had to go back to where he came from Republicans scramble to contain Trump fallout The four Republicans who voted to condemn Trump's tweets MORE (N.Y.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarScaramucci calls Trump tweets 'racist and unacceptable' House Democrat pushes for censuring Trump in closed-door meeting Black Caucus leader calls Trump's attacks on minority lawmakers 'despicable' MORE (Minn.), Collin PetersonCollin Clark PetersonCongress must work together and solve humanitarian crisis at the border GOP scores procedural win by securing more funding to enforce Iran sanctions Overnight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record MORE (Minn.), Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyKellyanne Conway: 'I totally disagree' with husband's op-ed calling Trump racist Scaramucci calls Trump tweets 'racist and unacceptable' House Democrat pushes for censuring Trump in closed-door meeting MORE (Mass.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibScaramucci calls Trump tweets 'racist and unacceptable' House Democrat pushes for censuring Trump in closed-door meeting Black Caucus leader calls Trump's attacks on minority lawmakers 'despicable' 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 AmashSC Republican Mark Sanford considering primary challenge to Trump Democrats erupt over Trump attacks Juan Williams: GOP in a panic over Mueller MORE (Mich.), Mario Diaz-BalartMario Rafael Diaz-BalartOvernight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record House passes amendment to block funding for transgender troops ban House passes bill to protect 'Dreamers' MORE (Fla.), Tom EmmerThomas (Tom) Earl EmmerThe Hill's Morning Report - Democrats frustrated by Hope Hicks's silence GOP hopes dim on reclaiming House Republicans raise concerns over House campaign arm leadership MORE (Minn.), Brian FitzpatrickBrian K. FitzpatrickThe 27 Republicans who voted with Democrats to block Trump from taking military action against Iran Overnight Defense: Woman accusing general of sexual assault willing to testify | Joint Chiefs pick warns against early Afghan withdrawal | Tensions rise after Iran tries to block British tanker Bipartisan group of lawmakers invites colleagues to tour DC's Holocaust museum MORE (Pa.), Anthony GonzalezAnthony GonzalezThe 27 Republicans who voted with Democrats to block Trump from taking military action against Iran Freshman members form bipartisan task force on election vulnerabilities ahead of 2020 Overnight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record MORE (Ohio), Trey HollingsworthJoseph (Trey) Albert HollingsworthThe 27 Republicans who voted with Democrats to block Trump from taking military action against Iran Overnight Defense: Woman accusing general of sexual assault willing to testify | Joint Chiefs pick warns against early Afghan withdrawal | Tensions rise after Iran tries to block British tanker House approves amendment to reverse transgender military ban MORE (Ind.), Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdHouse Democrat pushes for censuring Trump in closed-door meeting Trump: 'Petrified' Democrats afraid to take on progressive congresswomen The Memo: Toxic 2020 is unavoidable conclusion from Trump tweets MORE (Texas), John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoStudent loan borrowers are defaulting yearly — how can we fix it? Overnight Defense: Woman accusing general of sexual assault willing to testify | Joint Chiefs pick warns against early Afghan withdrawal | Tensions rise after Iran tries to block British tanker House approves amendment to reverse transgender military ban MORE (N.Y.) and Tom ReedThomas (Tom) W. ReedCrucial for Congress to fund life-saving diabetes research House Republicans dismissive of Paul Ryan's take on Trump The 27 Republicans who voted with Democrats to block Trump from taking military action against Iran 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. LieuTed Lieu: Trump a 'racist ass' House Democrats request briefing on Epstein, Acosta Members to have little time to question Mueller 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 CheneyCheney blasts Ocasio-Cortez over DHS dissolution Ocasio-Cortez suggests she's open to dissolving Homeland Security Pennsylvania Republican expected to replace Amash on Oversight MORE (R-Wyo.) to restore $19.6 million for new low-yield sub-launched nuclear warheads.

An amendment from Rep. Mike GallagherMichael (Mike) John GallagherLawmakers introduce bill to block U.S. companies from doing business with Huawei Keep our elections free and fair Overnight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record 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 SchumerNYT: Don't make Acosta a political martyr Charities say they never received donations touted by Jeffrey Epstein: report Schumer to donate Epstein campaign contributions to groups fighting sexual violence 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 MnuchinDemocrat Sherrod Brown torches Facebook at hearing: 'They broke journalism, helped incite a genocide' Beware the digital tax trap The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet 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 McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet GOP put on the back foot by Trump's race storm Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA —Biden unveils health care plan | Proposal pitches subsidies, public option | Biden vows if you like your health insurance, 'you can keep it' | Sanders protests planned Philadelphia hospital closure 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: Scientists flee USDA as research agencies move to Kansas City area | Watchdog finds EPA skirted rules to put industry reps on boards | New rule to limit ability to appeal pollution permits Watchdog finds EPA skirted rules when appointing industry leaders to science boards Trump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand MORE (D-Del.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet Fundraising numbers highlight growing divide in 2020 race Five things to watch for at Defense nominee's confirmation hearing MORE (D-N.Y.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisHarris slams DOJ decision not to charge police in Eric Garner's death Harris vows to 'put people over profit' in prescription drug plan The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet MORE (D-Calif.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet Fundraising numbers highlight growing divide in 2020 race Critics slam billion Facebook fine as weak MORE (D-Minn.), Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyHead of miners union calls Green New Deal's main goal 'almost impossible' Dem senators demand GOP judicial group discloses donors Warren reintroduces bill mandating climate disclosures by companies MORE (D-Mass.), Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleySenate Democrat releasing book on Trump admin's treatment of migrants at border Sunday shows - Amash, immigration dominate Merkley on delaying endorsement: 'We have a different set of cards this time' MORE (D-Ore.), Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallHouse passes bill to crack down on toxic 'forever chemicals' Overnight Energy: Trump threatens veto on defense bill that targets 'forever chemicals' | Republicans form conservation caucus | Pressure mounts against EPA's new FOIA rule Trump threatens veto on defense bill that targets 'forever chemicals' MORE (D-N.M.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' Trump says administration will 'take a look' after Thiel raises concerns about Google, China Thiel calls Warren the most 'dangerous' Democratic candidate MORE (D-Mass.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseOvernight Energy: Scientists flee USDA as research agencies move to Kansas City area | Watchdog finds EPA skirted rules to put industry reps on boards | New rule to limit ability to appeal pollution permits Dem senators demand GOP judicial group discloses donors Senate Democrats skipping Pence's border trip MORE (D-R.I.), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenHillicon Valley: Twitter says Trump 'go back' tweet didn't violate rules | Unions back protests targeting Amazon 'Prime Day' | Mnuchin voices 'serious concerns' about Facebook crypto project | Congress mobilizes on cyber threats to electric grid Top Democrat demands answers on election equipment vulnerabilities Advocates frustrated over pace of drug price reform MORE (D-Ore.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersWarren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' Sanders slams decision not to charge officer who killed Eric Garner Cardi B says voters let Bernie Sanders down 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) MenendezDem senators demand GOP judicial group discloses donors Senate passes .5B border bill, setting up fight with House Senate to vote on blocking Trump's Saudi arms deal as soon as this week 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