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July 24, 2017 Update

[New information bolded and italicized]

After much debate, House Republicans have decided to package four appropriations bills together to be considered in the House this week. Those four bills, labeled Make America Secure Appropriations Act, 2018, are Defense, Energy-Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction-VA. The expectation is that there could be hundreds of amendments offered to the massive package. With Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain’s illness, the schedule for the Senate defense authorization bill is murky. Last week, the House Budget Committee approved the Fiscal Year 2018 budget resolution. Budget Resolution consideration has been put off until Septembe

Key Fiscal Year 2018 National Security Bills

Fiscal Year 2018 Defense Appropriations Bill

On June 26, the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee marked up its bill and the full committee on June 29. The bill provides $658.1 billion for the Department of Defense. This total includes $584.2 billion in discretionary funding – an increase of $68.1 billion above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $18.4 billion above the President’s request. The bill also provides $73.9 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO)/Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) funding. Click here for a committee summary of the bill. 

The House will consider four appropriations bills in one package this week, including Defense.

Fiscal Year 2018 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill

On June 27, the House Appropriations Committee released its version of the Fiscal Year 2018 Energy and Water Appropriations bill, the bill that funds nuclear weapons. The bill totals $37.56 billion – $209 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $3.65 billion above the President’s budget request. That total includes $13.9 billion for Department of Energy’s nuclear weapons security programs, including Weapons Activities, Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation, and Naval Reactors – a $976 million increase above the fiscal year 2017 level. Click here for a summary of the bill. The full House Appropriations Committee approved the bill by voice vote on July 12.

The House will consider four appropriations bills in one package this week, including Energy and Water.

Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Resolution

Disagreement among House Republicans has delayed a markup and vote on the House version of the Fiscal Year 2018 budget. A House-Senate budget agreement is necessary for the Republican’s hope to pass tax reform and tax cuts. House Budget Committee action is off at least until July. House Budget Committee chair Diane Black (R-TN) has several times postponed a markup of the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Resolution  needed if nothing else, to prepare the way for consideration of a tax cut bill.

On July 20, the House Budget Committee has approved a Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Resolution. The budget sets overall discretionary spending for fiscal year 2018 at $1.1 trillion, including $621.5 billion in defense and $511 billion in non-defense discretionary spending. There are also about $205 billion in cuts to entitlement programs over the next decade. It is not clear when this resolution will be brought to the House floor.

Budget Resolution consideration has been put off until September.

Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Bill

The House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee took a number of hardline positions, including limiting funds to extend the New START nuclear reductions treaty, limiting nuclear weapons dismantlement, establishing a Space Corps to fight and win wars in space and requiring the development of a ground-launched cruise missile system that, if tested, would violate the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Click here for highlights from House Strategic Forces Subcommittee mark up.

In a marathon session, the full committee approved the bill late June 28 by a vote of 60-1. The bill totals $696.5 billion, including $631.5 billion for base requirements and $65 billion for the Overseas Contingency Operations account. Click here for our summary of the bill.

On July 14, after considering many amendments, the full House approved the bill by a vote of 344-81.

The Senate Armed Services Committee passed its version of the bill on June 29. The bill authorizes a total of $700 billion for defense, including $632 billion for the Pentagon and Department of Energy nuclear programs plus $60 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO). Click here for the Council for a Livable World summary of the bill. The Senate may consider the bill before the August recess.

Fiscal Year 2018 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill

On July 12, the House Appropriations committee released its draft bill. Click here for a summary of the bill. The full Appropriations Committee approved the bill on July 19.

Iran and Russia sanctions

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved S.722, a bill adding new sanctions on Iran related to its support for terrorism and its ballistic missile program. The bill was reported favorably out of committee by a vote of 18-3, with Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Tom Udall (D-NM) and Jeff  Merkley (D-OR) voting against it. Last minute opposition from former Secretary of State John Kerry failed to stem the momentum for the bill.

On June 15, the bill was approved 98-2. Before doing so, a Crapo (R-ID) amendment to tighten sanctions on Russia for its election interference was approved 97-2. In addition, a Graham (R-SC) amendment to reaffirm the strategic importance of Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty (after mixed signals from the Trump administration) was approved unanimously 100-0.

Completed legislation

Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Resolution

Early in the morning of January 12, the Senate approved a bare-bones Fiscal Year 2017 budget resolution that had been put forward to establish procedures for the Senate to vote to kill the Affordable Care Act through a majority vote in the Senate rather than the normal 60 vote threshold to adopt a bill or amendment. The Senate vote was a largely party-line 51-48, with only Kentucky Senator Rand Paul breaking ranks and voting against the budget. On January 13, the House approved the budget 227 to 198. In the House, nine Republicans voted against the budget resolution.

Fiscal Year 2017 Omnibus Appropriations Bill

The Defense Appropriations bill was combined with 10 other appropriations bill to become the Fiscal Year 2017 Omnibus Appropriations Bill comprising 11 individual appropriations bills.  On May 3, the House approved the bill by a bipartisan vote of 308-118 and the Senate cleared it on May 4 by a vote of 79-18.

The measure provides funding through the end of the fiscal year, September 30, 2017. The total funding in the bill is $1.163 trillion, including $1.07 trillion for base discretionary funding subject to budget caps and a total of $93.5 billion for the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) budget that serves to evade the budget caps.

The total funding for the Pentagon in FY 2017 is $598.5 billion, an increase of $25.7 billion from FY 2016.That total includes the $593 billion in this bill — $516.1 billion in base discretionary funding and $76.6 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations – plus an additional $5.8 billion in supplementary Pentagon funding approved when Congress passed a Continuing Resolution in December 2016.

Click here for further Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation analysis of the bill.

Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Request

On March 16, the President submitted an outline of his Fiscal Year 2018 budget released in May plus a $30 billion supplemental request for Fiscal Year 2017 and a request for funds to begin building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. Click here for a two-page analysis of the request.

President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget submitted to Congress on May 23 requests total national defense discretionary spending of $667.6 billion. That total includes $574.5 billion for the Defense Department’s annual “base” discretionary budget, which is $58.4 billion higher than FY 17 levels, and $50.6 billion above last year’s request from President Obama. It includes an additional request of $64.6 billion for the Pentagon’s portion of the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account – also referred to as “war funding.” The request increases funding for nuclear weapons refurbishment plans, which including funding for a new long-range bomber, a new nuclear-capable cruise missile, a new ballistic missile submarine program, an updated land-based intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), and their associated warheads. Click here for an analysis of the budget. The Department of State budget is cut by about 29%.

National Security Cabinet Nominations

James Mattis – Secretary of Defense – Approved 98-1 – January 20, 2017
John Kelly – Secretary of Homeland Security – Approved 88-11 – January 20, 2017
Mike Pampeo – Director of the Central Intelligence Agency – Approved 66-32 –  January 23, 2017
Nikki Haley – U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. – Approved 96-4 – January 24, 2017
Rex Tillerson – Secretary of State – Approved 56-43 – February 1, 2017
Rick Perry – Secretary of Energy – Approved 62-37 – March 2, 2017
Daniel Coats – Direction of National Intelligence – Approved 85-12 – March 15, 2017
H.R. McMaster – permitted to remain a 3-star general while serving as national security adviser, 86-10 – March 15, 2017

Congressional recess schedule in 2017

Friday, July 28 – Tuesday, September 5: Congressional recess

All of August: Senate and House summer recess

Tuesday, September 5: Congress returns from recess

Thursday, September 14 – Monday, September 25: House recess

Friday, October 6 – Monday, October 16: Senate recess

Friday, October 13 – Friday, October 23: House recess

Thursday, November 16 – Tuesday, November 28: Congressional recess

Friday, December 15 – Senate recess to end of the year