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May 21, 2018 Update

[New information bolded and italicized]

Last week, the Senate approved the nomination of Gina Haspel to lead the Central Intelligence Agency by a vote of 54-45. Earlier in the week, the Senate Intelligence Committee had endorsed her by a 10-5 vote.

In addition, the House Appropriations Committee marked up the Fiscal Year 2019 Energy and Water Bill, which includes funding for nuclear weapons (not delivery systems) and defense nuclear nonproliferation programs.

This week, the full House is scheduled to take up the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Bill, a measure that is a vehicle for many defense, foreign policy and other national security debates. The House Rules Committee plans to meet May 21 and May 22 to set up debate and decide which amendments can be considered for floor votes. Over 550 have been submitted. 

On May 21 and 22, the Senate Armed Services subcommittees will consider their sections of the National Defense Authorization bill with the full committee markup scheduled to begin May 23.

At the end of the week, Congress goes into its Memorial Day recess.

Key Fiscal Year 2019 National Security Bills

Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Bill

All House Armed Services subcommittees approved their portions of the Fiscal Year 2019 bill on April 26. Click here for the Strategic Forces Subcommittee section of the bill.

On May 9, the full House Armed Services Committee marked up the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Bill. H.R. 5515 is available here, and is scheduled on the House floor later this month.

This week, the full House is expected to take up the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Bill. The bill’s topline funding of $717 billion for the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy’s defense activities, and other defense spending is similar to the Trump Administration’s request. The House Rules Committee plans to meet May 21 and May 22 to set up debate and decide which amendments can be considered for floor votes. Over 550 have been submitted. 

On May 21 and 22, the Senate Armed Services subcommittees will consider their bills with the full committee markup scheduled to begin May 23.

Fiscal Year 2019 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill

The Administration Fiscal Year 2019 budget authority request for atomic energy defense activities is $23.1 billion, an increase from the Fiscal Year 2017 enacted level of $21.4 billion.

On May 16, the House Appropriations Committee marked-up the Fiscal Year 2019 Energy and Water Bill, which includes funding for nuclear weapons (not delivery systems) and defense nuclear nonproliferation programs. The bill and report can be found here and here. According to the committee-released summary, the bill is $1.5 billion above the Fiscal Year 2018 enacted level and $8.2 billion above the President’s budget request.

During markup, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) offered and withdrew an amendment to strike the NNSA request of $65 million for the W76-2, the low-yield nuclear weapon, and move the funds to the Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Account.

Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF)

The last three Presidents have relied on outdated AUMF’s from 2001 and 2002 to justify numerous overseas engagements. These measures have been a substitute for Congress’s Constitutional authority to declare war, which has not happened since 1941. There are been a number of abortive attempts to pass a new AUMF to put the Congressional imprint on the wars against ISIL and other terrorist groups. Senators Corker (R-TN), Kaine (D-VA), Young (R-IN), Nelson (D-FL), Flake (R-AZ) and Coons (D-DE) introduced an updated AUMF in April. The bill attracted quick opposition from the left, the White House, the Pentagon and Speaker Ryan. It’s fate is uncertain at best.

In the House, Reps. Coffman (R-CO), Gallego (D-AZ), Bacon (R-NE) and Panetta (D-CA) are also promoting an updated AUMF bill. Last year, the four introduced H. J.Res. 118 to provide Congressional authorization guidelines for the use of military force.

Fiscal Year 2019 Appropriations Bills  

House Appropriations subcommittee and full committee markups are also set for this week. For more information, click here. Senate Appropriations markups are listed here.

Fiscal Year 2019 State Department Authorization Bill

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA), who has announced his retirement, introduced a bipartisan Department of State Authorization Act of 2018. The bill codifies and authorizes several State Department offices and bureaus and, in reaction to former Secretary of State’s Rex Tillerson’s reorganization efforts, provides for greater congressional oversight of future reorganization plans. It has been years since Congress last passed a free standing State authorization. However, an expected easy adoption of the measure in the Committee in April had to be postponed over adding abortion provisions to the bill.

Fiscal Year 2019 Defense Appropriations Bill

President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget requests $617.1 billion for the Defense Department’s annual “base” discretionary budget, which is more than $90 billion higher than FY 18 enacted levels. This amount does not include certain other security spending, including funding for nuclear weapons-related work in the Department of Energy. Nor does it include an additional request of $69.0 billion for the Pentagon’s portion of the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account – also referred to as “war funding.” Including all of these accounts, the total national defense discretionary spending request is $714.9 billion.

Fiscal Year 2019 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill

The Fiscal Year 2019 Department of State and US Agency for International Development request is $38.7 billion, a huge decrease from the Fiscal Year 2017 enacted budget of $55.6 billion.

Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Resolution

Neither the House or Senate will produce a Budget Resolution this year, as the funding levels have been set in the Fiscal Year 2018 budget deal earlier this year.

 

Key Fiscal Year 2018 National Security Bills

Fiscal Year 2018 Defense/Omnibus Appropriations Bill

On the evening of March 21, the House-Senate conferees finally finished and filed the massive 2,232 page Fiscal Year 2018 Omnibus Appropriations Bill at a total cost of $1.3 trillion. Defense was one of the major sections of the bill. With the latest Continuing Resolution running out and a recess about to start, the House leadership rushed the bill to the House floor. On March 22, the House passed the bill by a 256-167. The Senate followed suit early in the morning of March 23 by a vote of 65-32.

 

Congressional recess schedule in 2018 

Thursday/Friday, May 24/25 – Monday/Tuesday June 4/5: Congressional recess
Thursday/Friday, June 28/29 – Monday/Tuesday, July 9/10: Congressional recess
Thursday, July 26 – Tuesday, September 4: House recess
Friday, August 3 – Tuesday, September 4: Senate recess
Friday, September 14 – Tuesday, September 25: House recess
Friday, October 12 – Tuesday, November 13: House recess
Friday, October 26 – Tuesday November 13: Senate recess
Friday, November 16 – Monday/Tuesday, November 26/27: Congressional recess
Thursday/Friday, December 13/14 – end of year: Congressional recess