February 18, 2020 Update

[New information bolded and italicized]

On February 13, the Senate approved the Kaine (D-VA), Durbin (D-IL), Lee (R-UT) and Paul (R-KY) war powers measure, S.J.Res 68, a measure to limit the President’s actions against Iran. The vote was 55-45, with an unusually large number of eight Republican Senators voting aye: Lamar Alexander (TN), Todd Young (IN), Mike Lee (UT), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Susan Collins (ME), Rand Paul (KY, Bill Cassidy (LA) and Jerry Moran (KS).

The bill, which differed from a previously adopted House version, will go back to the House for a new vote. The President has promised to veto the measure.

Last week, the Trump administration submitted its Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 budget request to Congress of $740.5 billion, only a modest change from FY 2020 because of last year’s budget deal between Congress and the White House. Some highlights include a big increase in the request for nuclear weapons refurbishment, the beginning of a phase out of the Overseas Contingency Operations budget and a reduction of almost $12 billion in the international affairs budget that pays for diplomacy.

Click here for a copy of an analysis of the new defense budget by the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, the Council’s sister organization.

The new budget provides the spending details that will lead to multiple congressional hearings and eventually to the annual National Defense Authorization BIll and Defense Appropriations Bill.

Key Fiscal Year 2020 National Security Bills


War Powers Resolution and War With Iran

On January 9, the House voted to force President Trump to seek congressional approval for further military action against Iran. The war powers measure offered by Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) was approved by an almost party-line vote of 224-194, with three Republicans voting yes (Gaetz, Massie and Rooney) and eight Democrats voting no (Brindisi, Cunningham, Gottheimer, Horn, Luria, McAdams, Murphy and Rose).

On January 30, an amendment by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) to repeal the 2002 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF), which has been used by administrations of both parties to cover combat in many places, was approved 236-166, with 11 Republicans and 1 independent voting “yea,” while 2 Democrats voted “nay.”

A second measure offered the same day by Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) to prohibit U.S. military action against Iran without prior congressional approval was adopted 228-175, with four Republicans and an independent voting “yea” and three Democrats voting “nay.”

Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Bill

Reminder: the two-year budget deal between Congress and the White House caps the 2021 budget at $740 billion, compared to $738 billion appropriated for 2020.

In January, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said about the annual National Defense Authorization bill, “It’ll be on the floor in May” and House Armed Services Committee Chair Adam Smith (D-WA) tentatively has scheduled a markup on April 30.

The Senate Arms Services Committee plans a markup May 18-22, with the hope the bill goes to the Senate floor in June and conference in July.

Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Resolution

The Trump administration is expected to submit its Fiscal Year 2021 budget request to Congress on February 10. In January 2020, House Budget Chair John Yarmuth (D-KY) and Senate Budget Committee Chair Mike Enzi (R-WY) suggested it is unlikely that the House will pass a Budget Resolution this year.

Fiscal Year 2021 Defense Appropriations Bill

Reminder: the two-year budget deal between Congress and the White House caps the 2021 budget at $740 billion, compared to $738 billion appropriated for 2020.

Fiscal Year 2021 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill

Fiscal Year 2021 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill

Fiscal Year 2021 Military Construction-Veterans’ Administration  (VA) Bill


Congressional recess schedule in 2020

Thursday, February 13 – Tuesday, February 25: House and Senate recess
Thursday, March 12 – Monday, March 23: House and Senate recess
Wednesday, April 1 – Monday, April 20: House recess
Friday, April 3 – Monday, April 20: Senate recess
Thursday, April 30 – Tuesday, May 12: House recess
Thursday, May 21 – Monday, June 1: House and Senate recess
Friday June 26 – Tuesday, July 7: House recess
Thursday, July 2 – Monday, July 20: Senate recess
Friday, July 10 – Tuesday, July 21: House recess
Friday, July 31 – Tuesday, September 8: House recess
Friday, August 7 – Tuesday, September 8: Senate recess
Friday, October 2 – Monday, November 16: House schedule
Friday October 9 -Monday, November 9: Senate schedule
Friday, November 20 – Tuesday, December 1: House & Senate recess