Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the Senate Minority Leader, made fresh comments on the debt limit today: “The debt ceiling needs to be raised. The issue is who should do it. And under these uniquely unprecedented circumstances, it’s their obligation to do it. And they have the votes to do it, and they will do it.”
The week of 27 Sep the SASC has now scheduled two hearings focused on the Afghanistan withdrawal. Other Senate committees have promised similar actions as well. On 28 Sep, SecDef, CJCS, and Gen. Frank Mackenzie will all testify and on 30 Sep, “yet-to-be-named outside experts will review U.S. military operations in Afghanistan,” according to a committee release. In addition to these two hearings, they are holding a third session on Thurs 15 Sep. This is a closed-door briefing with Gen. Scott Miller, the former Commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan. This is to provide additional atmospherics on the challenging SASC schedule as they continue working on the NDAA and additional nominations.
As mentioned last night, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), chairman, SAC, is tentatively planning to mark up two more spending bills (draft Transportation-HUD and Legislative Branch bills) on 22 Sep, just over a week before the start of the new fiscal year. As The Hill describes it all this morning, it’s “crunch time” on the Hill. As Punchbowl News puts it this morning, “Late September is becoming more complex for Congress every day. More difficult issues are being added to the late-month legislative rush on Capitol Hill. Let’s focus for a moment just on the House side, where Speaker Nancy Pelosi has a four-seat majority and is aiming to deal with government funding, debt limit, the National Defense Authorization Act, infrastructure and abortion to deal with in a drastically compressed time frame.” The House returns on 20 Sep but is only expected to be in session for eight days. The House will take up the CR that first week they are back and all indications are it will extend into early December.
On the NDAA, The House Rules Committee will set a rule for floor debate the week of 20 Sep. Floor consideration typically follows soon thereafter. Members are expected to file hundreds of amendments before Rules’ deadline, 1300 on 14 Sep. According to Congressional Quarterly, “the increased topline should cement a coalition of defense hawks in both parties large enough to pass the measure.” After passage, a conference committee has to be formed to iron out the differences in the bill. A completed NDAA is unlikely before early December.
On the debt limit, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday Democrats won’t include a debt limit increase in the reconciliation package. Pelosi suggested that Democrats have “several options” on increasing the debt limit, but “we’re told the plan is still to attach it to the CR, according to sources close to the issue,” Punchbowl reports. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, however, has said he won’t allow this to pass if Democrats are going ahead with their massive reconciliation package.
In a tweet from the Cook Political Report, “per two TN sources, Republicans are proceeding w/ drafting a redistricting plan that would carve up Nashville, likely dooming #TN05 Rep. Jim Cooper (D) and converting current 7R-2D map into 8R-1D.” Cooper has been referred to by many as the father of the Space Force. He and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL), ranking member, HASC, fought for years on the Space Corps concept.
Booz Allen Hamilton announced this week that former National Reconnaissance Office Principal Deputy Director Frank Calvelli will join the company as a senior vice president within its national security business.