March 18, 2019 Update

[New information bolded and italicized]

Congress is in recess this week after twice rejecting President Trump’s policies. First, the Senate voted to block further U.S. military involvement in the war in Yemen. The vote was 54-46 for S.J.Res 7, sponsored by Mike Lee (R-UT), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT), with six Republicans voting against the President.

Next, the Senate voted 59-41 to reject the President’s state of emergency on the southern border with Mexico to take funds appropriated for other purposes to pay for a wall. In this vote, 12 Republicans voted against the President. On both votes, Congress lacked a two-thirds majority to overcome a veto, and  the President promptly vetoed the state of emergency measure.

On March 11, President Trump proposed a national defense budget (largely Pentagon plus Department of Energy nuclear programs) that totals $750 billion, an increase of $34 billion, or 5 percent, from the 2019 enacted level. Of this amount, $576 billion is included in the so-called base budget with a huge $174 billion add-on stashed in the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) budget.

The request includes more than $7 billion to fund border barrier construction or refill military construction accounts slated to be used in fiscal year 2019 to build President Donald Trump’s border wall with Mexico. On the other hand, the State Department and foreign aid budget would be cut by 24%.

Recent votes of interest:

Senate approval of the McConnell (R-KY) amendment opposing the precipitous withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and Syria. The vote was 70-26.

House approval of a measure directing the removal of U.S. States Armed Forces from hostilities in Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress. The vote was 248-177.

Key Fiscal Year 2020 National Security Bills

Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Resolution

Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Bill

Despite the delayed budget request, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R) set a goal of completing this bill in the Senate of June 2019.

Fiscal Year 2020 Defense Appropriations Bill

Fiscal Year 2020 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill

Fiscal Year 2019 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill

Congressional recess schedule in 2019

Thursday, March 14 – Monday, March 25: House and Senate recess
Friday, April 12 – Monday, April 29: House and Senate recess
Thursday, May 23 – Monday, June 3: House and Senate recess
Thursday, June 27 – Monday, July 8: House and Senate recess
Thursday, July 26 – Monday, September 9: House summer recess
Friday, August 2-Monday, September 9 – Senate summer recess
Friday, September 27 – Tuesday, October 15: House and Senate recess
Friday, October 31 – Tuesday, November 12: House recess
Thursday, November 21 – Monday, December 2: House and Senate recess
Thursday, December 12: Tentative House and Senate adjournment for the year