Overnight Defense: House Democrats unveil stopgap spending measure to GOP opposition | Bill includes $1.6B for new subs | Trump issues Iran sanctions after world shrugs at US action at UN

Overnight Defense: House Democrats unveil stopgap spending measure to GOP opposition | Bill includes $1.6B for new subs | Trump issues Iran sanctions after world shrugs at US action at UN
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Happy Monday 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: House Democrats unveiled a stopgap spending measure Monday to keep the government open past next week — but it’s already running into opposition from Republicans, raising the odds for a pre-election government shutdown.

The continuing resolution (CR) introduced Monday would fund the government through Dec. 11 after current funding expires Sept. 30.

But the bill does not contain a provision requested by the White House to provide aid for farmers affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Senate Republicans quickly lined up to bash the Democrats’ bill, increasing the odds of a partisan showdown mere weeks before Election Day. Both sides previously expected a relatively simple extension of funding.

"House Democrats’ rough draft of a government funding bill shamefully leaves out key relief and support that American farmers need. This is no time to add insult to injury and defund help for farmers and rural America," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMnuchin says he learned of Pelosi's letter to him about stimulus talks 'in the press' On The Money: Trump makes a late pitch on the economy | US economy records record GDP gains after historic COVID-19 drop | Pelosi eyes big COVID-19 deal in lame duck Lawmakers say infrastructure efforts are falling victim to deepening partisan divide MORE (R-Ky.) tweeted.

A senior administration official said it's unlikely the president signs the funding bill should it pass both chambers without the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) provision.

"[The odds are] very low. CCC is a big deal and they have nothing," the official told The Hill.

But Democrats are steadfastly opposed to adding the funding requested by the White House to the stopgap bill, arguing the $3.4 trillion coronavirus relief package passed by the House in May includes funds for farmers.

"What the Trump administration wanted added to the clean CR wasn’t help for farmers – it was more than $20 billion more taxpayer dollars that the Trump Administration views as a bottomless, unaccountable political slush fund," a senior Democratic aide said.

While the two parties remain at odds over the farm relief, they did manage to reach consensus on the Dec. 11 expiration date for the stopgap bill. Republicans had pushed for a December end date to carry funding through the elections, while some Democrats had pushed for a stopgap bill lasting into February that could be more advantageous if their party wins the Senate or the White House.

For defense: The December end-date should somewhat assuage the Pentagon, which in past years has argued against lengthy CRs.

House Democrats’ CR also contains a so-called anomaly to allow the Navy to buy the first two Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines.

Typically, CRs bar any changes to existing funding, including preventing new purchases.

But the CR released Monday would set aside $1.6 billion so the Navy “may enter into a contract, beginning with fiscal year 2021, for the procurement of up to two Columbia class submarines.” It also grants the Navy authority to incrementally fund the subs.

The CR would also extend an authority that was granted in the coronavirus relief bill known as the CARES Act that allows the Pentagon to reimburse contractors for delays and other added costs due to the pandemic.

The authority is set to expire next week, but would be extended for the length of the CR through Dec. 11.

The bill does not include two other defense-related exceptions the White House requested: flexibility for Space Force funding and authority to start work on the submarine-launched W93 nuclear warhead.

TRUMP UNVEILS NEW IRAN SANCTIONS: The Trump administration announced an executive order and new unilateral sanctions against Iran on Monday aimed at enforcing United Nations sanctions that most members of the international body are dismissing as illegitimate.

“My actions today send a clear message to the Iranian regime and those in the international community who refuse to stand up to Iran,” President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden campaign slams Facebook after thousands of ads blocked by platform's pre-election blackout Mnuchin says he learned of Pelosi's letter to him about stimulus talks 'in the press' Harris to travel to Texas Friday after polls show tie between Trump, Biden MORE said in a statement. “The United States will not allow the Iranian regime to further advance capabilities to directly threaten and terrorize the rest of the world.” 

The details: The sanctions put in place a new arms embargo on Iran to replace a U.N. ban set to expire in October. Administration officials say it is an indefinite ban on weapons sales and allows for sanctions on any international companies or individuals that seek to violate the embargo. 

“The president's executive order announced today gives us a new and powerful tool to enforce the U.N. arms embargo, and hold those who seek to evade U.N. sanctions accountable,” Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoPompeo's wife and son made personal requests of State Dept staff: report Pompeo: US citizens born in Jerusalem can now list Israel on passports The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump, Biden blitz battleground states MORE said in a press conference.  

The administration’s sanction package also targeted dozens of entities and individuals connected to Iran’s nuclear weapons programs including s Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics, Iran’s Defense Industries Organization and its director, Mehrdad Akhlaghi-Ketabchi, and individuals and entities associated with the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.

The U.S. also announced sanctions on Nicolás Maduro, the embattled leader of Venezuela, accusing him of flouting the U.N. arms embargo over the past two years. 

Iran’s reaction: Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who was speaking to the Council on Foreign Relations via videoconference at the same time as the Trump administration’s news conference, dismissed Monday’s sanctions as “nothing new.”

“I don't think it will have any more significant impact on Iran,” Zarif added. “The United States has exerted all the pressure it could on Iran. It had hoped that these sanctions will bring our population to their knees. It didn't.”

But asked about any further response to the U.S. assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani earlier this year, Zarif did not rule anything out.

“President Trump ordered the assassination of a national hero for Iran and a hero for the region,” Zarif said. “So the book is not closed. I'm not in the business of making threats, but the book is not closed.”

Rest of world shrugs: Monday’s action comes after the Trump administration insisted it triggered a snapback of U.N. sanctions that were lifted as part of the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and several world powers.

But every member of the 15-member Security Council except for the Dominican Republic has rejected the U.S. authority to reimpose the sanctions since Trump withdrew the United States from the nuclear deal in 2018.

France, Germany and the United Kingdom said in a statement this weekend that the U.S. move “is incapable of having legal effect.”

“It flows from this that any decisions and actions which would be taken based on this procedure or on its possible outcome would also be incapable of having any legal effect,” the statement added.

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borell similarly said Sunday that the United States “cannot initiate the process of reinstating U.N. sanctions under the U.N. Security Council resolution 2231. Consequently, sanctions lifting commitments under the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] continue to apply.”


The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a business meeting on several nominations at 9:30 a.m. https://bit.ly/3cmkzkQ

A House Foreign Affairs Committee subpanel will hold a hearing on human rights in Asia with testimony from outside experts at 10 a.m. https://bit.ly/3mJqpBF

The House Oversight Committee’s national security subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Trump administration’s Afghanistan strategy with testimony from special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and acting assistant secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific security affairs David Helvey at 11 a.m. https://bit.ly/3mI8ETu

A House Armed Services Committee subpanel will hold a hearing on modernizing the conventional ammunition production industrial base at 1 p.m. https://bit.ly/3cjzyfo

A House Foreign Affairs subcommittee will hold a hearing on diversity and inclusion at the State Department with testimony from department officials at 2 p.m. https://bit.ly/32NKr69

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown will speak at Defense One’s “State of the Air Force” event at 2 p.m. https://bit.ly/2RMLInH


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