Overnight Defense: House passes $695B Pentagon spending bill as part of broader package | One dead, eight missing after Marine Corps training accident | White House says Trump stands by controversial nominee

Overnight Defense: House passes $695B Pentagon spending bill as part of broader package | One dead, eight missing after Marine Corps training accident | White House says Trump stands by controversial nominee
© Greg Nash

Happy Friday 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: The House has passed its $694.6 billion Pentagon spending bill for fiscal year 2021.

The defense bill was approved Friday as part of a $1.3 trillion package that also included fiscal 2021 funding for labor, health and human services, and education; commerce, justice and science; energy and water; financial services and general government; and transportation and housing and urban development.

The package passed in a largely party-line 217-197 vote.

What’s in it: The defense appropriations bill, you’ll recall, is the one that would allocate $1 million to the Army to pay to rename bases and other properties that have Confederate numbers.

The bill also contains several provisions aimed at preventing the Trump administration from using any more Pentagon funding on the border wall, including limiting the amount of money it can transfer between accounts.

During this week’s debate about the bill, lawmakers also added an amendment to block funding for the Trump administration’s transgender military ban.

Meanwhile, lawmakers shot down an amendment from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezObama: You lose people with 'snappy' slogans like 'defund the police' The left's turn against freedom: Curb speech, ban books, make an 'enemies list' Manchin: Ocasio-Cortez 'more active on Twitter than anything else' MORE (D-N.Y.) that would have banned funding from being used by the military to recruit on Twitch and other e-sports platforms. The House voted 126-292 against the amendment Thursday night.

Other highlights of what’s included:

-- Repeals for the 2001 and 2002 authorizations for the use of military force 

-- A ban for funding for military action against Iran

-- Funding for a 3 percent pay increase for troops

-- $9.3 billion for 91 F-35 fighter jets

-- $22.3 billion for nine new Navy ships

-- $758 million to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on subcontractors in the defense industrial base.

What’s next: The Senate Appropriations Committee hasn’t moved on any fiscal 2021 spending bills amid disagreements over whether to include police reform and additional COVID-19 spending in the bills.

With no deal likely, Congress is likely to pass a stopgap measure to keep the government funded and prevent a shutdown ahead of November’s elections.

The outcome of the election may influence whether the spending bills progress or are tossed aside until next year, when control of the House, Senate and White House may be different.

1 DEAD, 8 MISSING IN TRAINING ACCIDENT: One Marine has died and eight other service members are missing after a Thursday training accident off the coast of Southern California.

At least two other service members were injured after the “mishap” with an assault amphibious vehicle (AAV), the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force confirmed in a tweet early Friday morning.

The service members are assigned to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), based at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Of the two injured service members, one is in critical condition and one is in stable condition. 

Fifteen Marines and one Navy sailor were in the AAV at the time of the Thursday incident, the Marine Corps said in a statement.

Search and rescue efforts by the Navy and Coast Guard to locate the missing eight service members are ongoing.

“We are deeply saddened by this tragic incident. I ask that you keep our Marines, Sailors, and their families in your prayers as we continue our search,” Col. Christopher Bronzi, 15th MEU commanding officer, said in a statement early Friday morning.

TRUMP’S GERMANY DRAWDOWN HITS AFRICOM: U.S. Africa Command (Africom) has been ordered to draw up plans to relocate its headquarters as part of the Trump administration’s military drawdown in Germany, the command said Friday.

“U.S. Africa Command has been told to plan to move,” commander Gen. Stephen Townsend said in a statement. “While it will likely take several months to develop options, consider locations, and come to a decision, the command has started the process. We will ensure we continue to support our host nation and African partners and our families and forces throughout.”

As it studies where to move, Africom will first look at other sites in Europe, but will also study locations in the United States, the news release said.

Past headquarters drama: Africom has avoided locating its headquarters on the continent where it is focused over African concerns about the militarization of U.S. foreign policy toward the continent.

When Africom was established in 2008, Stuttgart, Germany, was chosen as an interim headquarters, with the intention of selecting a permanent location later.

But in 2013, the Pentagon decided to keep the headquarters at Stuttgart after a study that looked at sites in Europe, the United States and Africa. At the time, the Pentagon cited operational needs, as well as the upfront costs of moving. 

TRUMP STANDS BY TATA: The White House said Friday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump alludes to possible 2024 run in White House remarks Trump threatens to veto defense bill over tech liability shield Tiger King's attorney believes they're close to getting pardon from Trump MORE still supports Anthony Tata, who he nominated to lead the Pentagon’s policy shop, but wouldn’t say whether Trump will instead install him in an acting role.

The comments come one day after the Senate Armed Services Committee abruptly canceled Tata’s confirmation hearing amid controversy over his racist, Islamophobic and otherwise inflammatory tweets.

Asked at a briefing if Trump is standing by Tata, White House press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said “the president still supports Gen. Tata.”

Pressed later in the briefing whether Trump is considering appointing Tata to an acting position, McEnany said she has “no personnel announcements other [than] to say that the president still supports him.”

Reports have indicated Trump could try to sidestep the confirmation process by appointing Tata to an acting position.


-- The Hill: Trump in leaked conversation bragged about retweets for defending Confederate history

-- The Hill: Democrats demand Esper explicitly ban Confederate flag and allow Pride, Native Nations flags

-- The Hill: Virginia Military Institute will not remove Confederate monuments, names

-- The Hill: Fort Hood sergeant says he shot and killed armed Black Lives Matter protester

-- Reuters: Afghanistan and Pakistan say 22 die in border clashes

-- Stars and Stripes: US troops could soon be heading to Poland under new agreement

-- Associated Press: German defense minister: Planned US withdrawal ‘regrettable’