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Overnight Defense: House votes to block Trump arms sales to Saudis, setting up likely veto | US officially kicks Turkey out of F-35 program | Pentagon sending 2,100 more troops to border

Overnight Defense: House votes to block Trump arms sales to Saudis, setting up likely veto | US officially kicks Turkey out of F-35 program | Pentagon sending 2,100 more troops to border
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THE TOPLINE: The House approved three resolutions Wednesday to block emergency arms sales to Saudi Arabia, sending the resolutions to President TrumpDonald TrumpClinton, Bush, Obama reflect on peaceful transition of power on Biden's Inauguration Day Arizona Republican's brothers say he is 'at least partially to blame' for Capitol violence Biden reverses Trump's freeze on .4 billion in funds MORE's desk for his likely veto.

"The three measures the House will now consider are extraordinary, extraordinary but necessary because they respond to what I view as an extraordinary abuse of power by the Trump administration using a phony emergency to override the authority of Congress and push through $8 billion in arms sales," Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelState Department sets up new bureau for cybersecurity and emerging technologies How Congress dismissed women's empowerment 2020: A year in photos MORE (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday ahead of the vote.

The House approved two of the resolutions 238-190 and the third resolution 237-190. For all three resolutions, four Republicans supported the measures: Reps. Mike GallagherMichael (Mike) John Gallagher'I saw my life flash before my eyes': An oral history of the Capitol attack GOP lawmaker on protesters storming Capitol: 'I have not seen anything like this since I deployed to Iraq' GOP lawmakers plead for calm, urge Trump to help restore order amid Capitol violence MORE (Wis.), 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.), Thomas MassieThomas Harold MassieHouse conservatives plot to oust Liz Cheney GOP lawmaker on Capitol protesters: 'I will not be deterred' by 'mob demand' Questions and answers about the Electoral College challenges MORE (Ky.) and Alex MooneyAlexander (Alex) Xavier MooneyRepublicans block 25th Amendment resolution to oust Trump House to vote on impeaching Trump Wednesday READ: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results MORE (W.Va.). Newly independent Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashRepublicans eye primaries in impeachment vote Michigan GOP lawmaker says he's 'strongly considering' impeachment Newly sworn in Republican House member after Capitol riot: 'I regret not bringing my gun to D.C.' MORE (Mich.) also supported the resolutions.

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The specifics: The House is only voting on three of the 22 emergency arms sales to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf allies in the interest of time, Democratic leadership has said.

The three sales the lower chamber chose to vote on are the ones most relevant to the Yemen civil war, House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerBudowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated Congressional leaders present Biden, Harris with flags flown during inauguration LIVE INAUGURATION COVERAGE: Biden signs executive orders; press secretary holds first briefing MORE (D-Md.) told reporters Tuesday.

Engel also said Wednesday the three sales are the first ones of the 22 slated to be shipped out.

The resolutions voted on Wednesday cover Paveway precision-guided munitions for the Saudis and Emiratis, as well as systems to detonate the bombs.

The Paveway deal with the Saudis also includes the co-production of so-called smart bombs, an aspect that has raised concerns among lawmakers who say it runs the risk of giving the Saudis access to sensitive technology to produce their own version of the bomb.

The other side: The administration and its allies have argued the arms sales are necessary because of what they described as heightened threats from Iran.

"Right now, as I speak, Iran is stretching its tentacles of terror across the Middle East," Foreign Affairs ranking member Rep. Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulUS ambassador to Israel Twitter account briefly includes West Bank, Gaza Biden urged to reverse Pompeo-Trump move on Houthis Kremlin critic Navalny detained in Moscow upon return to Russia MORE (R-Texas) said. "One of the ways we can push back against Iran's murderous aggression is by empowering our partners in the region."

What's next: The White House has threatened to veto the resolutions, and Congress is not expected to have the votes to override.

But lawmakers are already plotting next steps.

In the Senate, Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jim RischJim Elroy RischSenate confirms Biden's intel chief, giving him first Cabinet official Overnight Defense: US sanctions NATO ally Turkey over Russian defense system | Veterans groups, top Democrats call for Wilkie's resignation | Gingrich, other Trump loyalists named to Pentagon board Will Biden choose a values-based or transactional foreign policy? MORE (R-Okla.) has introduced a bill he hopes can both satisfy lawmakers' concerns and win Trump's signature.

Risch's bill, which has bipartisan co-sponsors, would force the Trump administration to undergo a "comprehensive review" of the U.S.-Saudi relationship.

The committee is scheduled to consider the bill Tuesday morning, Risch said Wednesday.

 

TURKEY OFFICIALLY BOOTED FROM F-35 PROGRAM: The Pentagon finally held its briefing Wednesday on Turkey's acceptance of the Russian S-400, after repeated cancellations of the briefing, and after the White House sent out a statement making Turkey's ejection from the F-35 program official.

"The U.S. and other F-35 partners are aligned in this decision to suspend Turkey from the program and initiate the process to formally remove Turkey from the program," Ellen Lord, the under secretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, told reporters at the Pentagon.

Pentagon officials said that they will now move F-35 production and maintenance roles from Turkey, one of nine partner countries involved in making and maintaining the advanced fighter jet, to be split among other partner nations.

Lord said that will cost the United States "between $500 and $600 million in non-recurring engineering in order to shift the supply chain."

Turkish personnel that were being trained to fly and fix the F-35 also must leave the United States by the end of the month.

What the White House says: The White House's statement said Turkey's decision to purchase the Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile defense system "renders its continued involvement with the F-35 impossible."

"The F-35 cannot coexist with a Russian intelligence collection platform that will be used to learn about its advanced capabilities," the statement said.

"Turkey has been a longstanding and trusted partner and NATO Ally for over 65 years, but ... This will have detrimental impacts on Turkish interoperability with the Alliance."

What Lockheed says: F-35-maker Lockheed Martin said in a statement that it was a "government-to-government matter," and that it is following official U.S. guidance.

"Over the last several months we've been working to establish alternative sources of supply in the United States to quickly accommodate Turkey's current contributions to the program," the statement said. "These actions will limit any future production or sustainment impact and we remain on track to meet our commitment of delivering 131 F-35s this year."

 

2,100 MORE TROOPS GO SOUTH: The Pentagon has approved a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) request to send an additional 2,100 active duty and National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, the Defense Department announced Wednesday.

The deployment will consist of 1,100 active duty troops and 1,000 Texas National Guard troops and add to the roughly 4,500 active duty and Guard troops already at the border, bringing the total to 6,600.

Acting Defense Secretary Richard Spencer -- who is Pentagon chief temporarily until the Senate confirms a permanent Defense secretary -- approved the request Tuesday night.

Jobs: Active duty troops will assist with aerial surveillance and provide operational, logistical and administrative support, and are meant to backfill the mission "due to a shortfall in volunteer National Guard personnel."

National Guard personnel will support CBP's [Customs and Border Protection's] efforts "to secure the southern land border of the United States," through Sept. 30, the Pentagon said.

Approximately 750 Guard members will provide "supplemental holding support" to CBP at its temporary adult migrant holding facilities in Donna and Tornillo, Texas. Guard personnel "will assist DHS law enforcement personnel with operational, logistical, and administrative support," while DHS law enforcement personnel will supervise migrants, the Defense Department added.

Another 250 Guard members will "provide port of entry" support at certain locations and airports in Texas.

 

ON TAP FOR TOMORROW

Reps. Abigail SpanbergerAbigail Davis Spanberger'I saw my life flash before my eyes': An oral history of the Capitol attack Chamber of Commerce slams GOP effort to challenge Biden's win Five centrist Democrats oppose Pelosi for Speaker in tight vote MORE (D-Va.) and Michael WaltzMichael WaltzNewspaper editorial board apologizes for endorsing Republican over support for Texas lawsuit Defense pick faces big hurdle Florida GOP Rep. Mike Waltz tests positive for COVID-19 MORE (R-Fla.) will discuss counterterrorism strategy at 9 a.m. at the Center for International and Strategic Studies. https://bit.ly/2Ncy260

The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a business meeting to consider pending nominations at 9:30 a.m. https://bit.ly/2Mm2Qjg

 

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