Overnight Defense: Senators reach $2 billion deal on emergency Capitol security bill | House panel looks to help military sexual assault survivors | US increases airstrikes to help Afghan forces fight Taliban

Overnight Defense: Senators reach $2 billion deal on emergency Capitol security bill | House panel looks to help military sexual assault survivors | US increases airstrikes to help Afghan forces fight Taliban
© Greg Nash

Happy Tuesday and welcome to Overnight Defense. I'm Ellen Mitchell, 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: Sens. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyPhotos of the Week: Renewable energy, gymnast testimonies and a Met Gala dress Senators denounce protest staged outside home of Justice Kavanaugh Al Franken on another Senate run: 'I'm keeping my options open' MORE (D-Vt.) and Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyCrypto debate set to return in force Press: Why is Mo Brooks still in the House? Eshoo urges Pelosi to amend infrastructure bill's 'problematic' crypto regulation language MORE (R-Ala.), the top members of the Appropriations Committee, reached a roughly $2 billion deal on Tuesday to provide new funding to the Capitol Police, after warning bells that they were heading toward a funding cliff sparked by the Jan. 6 attack.  

Leahy, speaking with reporters, confirmed that they had an agreement. In addition to emergency funding for the Capitol Police, it's also expected to reimburse the National Guard for $521 million, provide funding for security improvements around the Capitol and include an unrelated issue of visas for Afghans who aided the U.S. military effort.  

"We're going to take care of the Capitol Police and fix some of the problems that need to be done here. Certainly, take care of the National Guard," Leahy said. "Both sides had to compromise on some things, but I think we're in pretty good shape." 

The deal’s details: The deal, which is expected to be just over $2 billion, will include $100 million for the Capitol Police and more than $300 million for the security measures around the Capitol complex, according to a source familiar with the agreement. 

The deal will include more than $1 billion for the Pentagon, divided up between the money for the National Guard and roughly $500 million for the Afghan special immigrant visas program. The State Department would get an additional $600 million for the program and the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement would get $25 million, the source added. 

Meanwhile, in the House…: The House passed a $1.9 billion emergency supplemental package in May. That included roughly $44 million for Capitol Police, including funds for overtime pay, training, equipment, trauma support for officers and expanding intelligence gathering. It would also reimburse the National Guard and D.C. police for their work at the Capitol.

Unlike the House bill, Leahy said the Senate deal does not include the creation of a rapid response force to back up the Capitol Police. 

Warnings prompt actions: The agreement comes after warnings that the Capitol Police could run out of funding in August sparked speculation that the department could be forced to implement furloughs. 

Senate Republicans initially pitched a bill of roughly $632 million that included National Guard, Capitol Police and Architect of the Capitol funding. Leahy, however, went significantly further, pitching a $3.7 billion bill, nearly twice the amount passed by the House. 

But the two appeared to be making progress behind the scenes, with Shelby telling reporters last week that he had upped his negotiating top-line. 

Read the rest of the story here.

 

HOUSE PANELS WORK DEFENSE BUDGET

A House Armed Services Committee subpanel is including changes to help sexual assault survivors in its portion of the annual defense policy bill, while leaving a broader fight on overhauling the military justice system to the full committee.

In a background call with reporters Tuesday previewing the personnel subcommittee’s portion of the defense bill, aides said the panel would add a requirement that the military services notify sexual assault survivors of the outcome of any administration action taken against perpetrators.

What it would require: The new bill would also require the Pentagon to produce a list of civilian victims service organizations that survivors can use if they need legal representation, health care or other services, aides said.

And it would require all administrative separation boards to have a legal officer as a recorder “so that it further protects the service members interests,” aides said.

What it leaves out: But the subcommittee’s portion of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) does not touch the fight over whether commanders should be removed from the decision to prosecute sexual assault or other crimes, with aides saying they expect that to be addressed at the full committee level.

A debate over how broadly to reform the military justice system in an effort to tackle sexual assault has become a banner issue as lawmakers begin considering this year’s NDAA.

More ships, please: Another House panel, meanwhile, is backing adding a second Arleigh Burke-class destroyer to the Navy’s fiscal 2022 budget, the latest move in Congress to stray from the administration’s defense budget request.

In its portion of the annual defense policy bill, the House Armed Services Committee’s seapower subcommittee is recommending the full committee approve buying a total of eight new warships, committee aides told reporters on a background call Tuesday.

That’s the same total number requested by the Biden administration. But, the panel is recommending two Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers instead of the one requested by the administration, and one towing, salvage and rescue ship instead of two.

Rounding out: The subcommittee’s portion of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) would round out the shipbuilding budget with two Virginia-class submarines, one guided-missile frigate, one refueler and one T-AGOS(X) auxiliary general ocean surveillance ship.

Not everyone is happy: Lawmakers in both parties, even some Democrats who support the Biden’s administration overall $715 billion request for Pentagon funding, have blasted the Navy’s shipbuilding request as inadequate.

  

US INCREASES AIRSTRIKES IN AFGHANISTAN

The U.S. military this week has stepped up airstrikes to help Afghan forces in their fight against the Taliban, the Pentagon confirmed Tuesday.

“A number of strikes have occurred over the last several days from both manned and unmanned strike platforms,” Pentagon spokesman Maj. Robert Lodewick told The Hill in a statement. No additional details were given.

Earlier: The strikes follow last week’s two airstrikes against the Taliban targeting captured equipment. The steady stream of strikes has taken place as the militant group has taken over large swaths of Afghanistan since the U.S. military began its withdrawal.

During a visit to Kabul on Sunday, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) head Gen. Frank McKenzie also said the U.S. military had increased airstrikes in support of Afghan forces over the last several days.

“We're prepared to continue this heightened level of support in the coming weeks if the Taliban continue their attacks,” McKenzie, who oversees the U.S. military withdrawal, told reporters following a meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

Undecided: The Pentagon still must decide whether it will continue to bolster Afghan government forces with airstrikes after the U.S. military finishes its withdrawal, set for Aug. 31 by Biden administration officials.

McKenzie on Sunday declined to commit to ending airstrikes against the Taliban by the end-of-August deadline.

 

ON TAP FOR TOMORROW

The House Armed Services Committee’s staff members will hold a media conference call to discuss subcommittee markups for the FY2022 National Defense Authorization Act beginning at 9 a.m. 

Gen. David “DT” Thompson, vice chief of space operations, will speak at the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies virtual event at 10 a.m. 

Homeland Security Advisory Council Chairman William Bratton will speak at the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement virtual Homeland Security Conference at 11 a.m. 

The United States Institute of Peace will hold a virtual discussion on “Nuclear Security Policy in an Era of Strategic Competition,” with Rep. Jeff FortenberryJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FortenberryOvernight Defense: Senators reach billion deal on emergency Capitol security bill | House panel looks to help military sexual assault survivors | US increases airstrikes to help Afghan forces fight Taliban US delegation departs Haiti after reports of gunshots at ex-president's funeral Biden announces delegation to attend Haitian president's funeral MORE (R-Neb.), and Rep. Bill FosterGeorge (Bill) William FosterOvernight Defense: Senators reach billion deal on emergency Capitol security bill | House panel looks to help military sexual assault survivors | US increases airstrikes to help Afghan forces fight Taliban We must address the declining rate of startup business launches Republicans seek vindication amid reemergence of Wuhan lab theory MORE (D-Ill.), at 1:30 p.m. 

Sen. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthTop Republican: General told senators he opposed Afghanistan withdrawal Democrats brace for battle on Biden's .5 trillion spending plan Conservation group says it will only endorse Democrats who support .5T spending plan MORE will speak at a Center for Strategic and International Studies conversation on “U.S. National Security Policy in the Indo-Pacific,” at 3 p.m.  

ICYMI

-- The Hill: Watchdog: Lack of DOD action may have caused 'preventable' risks from 'forever chemicals

-- The Hill: White House seeking $1 billion to help resettle Afghan allies

-- The Hill: Senate confirms Biden's Air Force secretary

-- The Hill: Analyst who leaked drone secrets sentenced to 45 months

-- The Hill: Tased officer: Jan. 6 attack 'unlike anything' I've ever seen

-- The Hill: Human Rights Watch accuses Israeli military of apparent war crimes

-- The Hill: Opinion: Adaptability remains a constant — even as the 'character of war' changes

-- The Associated Press: Explainer: US, NATO pledge billions to back Afghan forces

-- Defense News: Pentagon chief calls for new regional order in Indo-Pacific

-- New York Times: A 2nd New Nuclear Missile Base for China, and Many Questions About Strategy