Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the Senate Majority Leader, spoke about the debt ceiling on the Senate floor a short time ago: “Over the next few weeks, the House and Senate must also come together to address the debt ceiling. In America, when it’s time to pay the bills, we follow through on our obligations without exception. For a long time, addressing the debt ceiling was considered a routine and responsible step that both sides worked together to achieve … it’s important to remember that this is not about green lighting future spending. This is about paying debt from past spending … we need to work together to raise the debt ceiling and avoid causing irreparable harm to our economy still recovering from the devastation of the pandemic.” Schumer also said he expects Congress to extend government funding by way of a CR when money runs out on 30 Sep. For his part, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the Senate Minority Leader, did not address the CR or the debt limit in his opening comments.
The Congressional Baseball Game for Charity is on Wednesday, 29 Sep at 1905. According to a release, “Space Force Association has sponsored a private suite where they plan to host members of SFA, the Space Force Caucus, the Administration, and the Pentagon staffs to unveil some SFA new products and discuss the future of the Space Force and national spacepower! If you are planning to attend the game and would like to visit our suite, please email email@example.com so we can put your name on the list.” For more information on purchasing tickets, please visit https://www.mlb.com/nationals/tickets/congressional.
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the Senate Minority Leader, this morning told reporters he couldn’t be “more clear” about his position on the debt ceiling. McConnell has put the onus squarely on POTUS and Democrats to raise the debt limit, saying last month that “they have the House, the Senate and the presidency. It’s their obligation to govern … and the essence of governing is to raise the debt ceiling to cover the debt.” Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) is also still cool to raising the debt limit, according to a tweet from Burgess Everett of Politico.
SA – According to Everett, “Noticeably stepped-up security posture on Capitol Hill this morning ahead of Sept. 18 rally. New security cameras in place and more stringent ID checks in the area immediately around the Capitol, which had been reopened to the public for several months. No fence up, yet.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) believes there is “much better preparation” taking place in advance of this event. According to a separate tweet, “USCP Chief Manger says the fence will go up “a day or two before” and if “everything goes well” it’ll come down a day or two after 9/18 rally.”
The HASC NDAA Report is also attached. On the NDAA, The House and Senate are expected to pass their versions of the bill. Democrats’ narrow control of the two chambers and progressives’ desire to cut military spending mean they will need Republican votes to carry the bill over the line, but the additional funding is expected to smooth that path. But the two versions will then need reconciling in conference. In addition to resolving the policy differences, the final bill is likely to call for more reports, briefings, updates and investigations into the administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan than the White House would like. The House is expected to take up their version of the NDAA next week on the floor.
The Senate returns today at 1500. In addition to the two hearings on the withdrawal of Afghanistan scheduled for the week of 27 Sep before the SASC, they are holding a third session on Thursday. This is a closed-door briefing with Gen. Scott Miller, the former Commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan. As Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), chairman, SASC, said last week, “I remain deeply concerned about the events that accompanied our withdrawal and the ongoing humanitarian crisis.” I share this to provide additional atmospherics on how brutal the SASC schedule is going to be now with this item added as they continue with getting an NDAA done and additional nominations, among other pressing issues. As of right now, there is no additional confirmation hearings scheduled. Of note, SASC isn’t the only committee “set to kick off its high-profile grilling of top administration officials this week” on Afghanistan, as The Hill writes. The deadline for raising the U.S. debt ceiling is also staring lawmakers in the face. Democrats’ unofficial plan is to include this in their CR — something Republicans staunchly oppose. Republicans insist Democrats should instead tie the debt limit to their reconciliation package, which only needs a simple majority vote. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) reiterated last week that strategy is off the table.
The House will take up a CR package next week when they return the week of 20 Sep. According to Politico, “Party leaders are eyeing Dec. 10 as a possible end date for a continuing resolution to keep the government open beyond Sept. 30, although the length of that patch has yet to be finalized..” There was a bipartisan meeting of House and Senate Appropriations Committees staffers on Friday on all of this. Government funding runs dry in 17 days. In addition, “Hoyer [Rep. Steny Hoyer, the House Majority Leader] warned lawmakers on Friday that House leaders might have to add extra voting days in October to accommodate a jam-packed schedule.” Of note, Continuing resolutions — or CRs — let Congress keep funding the government while buying time to negotiate the full appropriations bill for the year. 124 CRs have been enacted since 1998. The pace in recent years generally has been lower than in the late ’90s and early 2000s, but the bills on average have provided funding for longer periods of time. There is so much going on and we’ll be monitoring it all along the way!
According to reporting by Sandra Erwin of SpaceNews, a notice could appear in the Federal Register as early as this week seeking nominations for the National Space Council’s industry advisory group, the council’s executive secretary Chirag Parikh said Sept. 9. “Speaking at the Satellite 2021 conference, Parikh said the call for nominations for the Users Advisory Group will stay open through the end of the month. “When you see the notice come out, please follow the instructions,” he said.” According to the story, “Parikh said Harris is “very enthused about space and committed to ensuring U.S. leadership in space across civil commercial and national security efforts.” One of Harris’ priorities is to promote cooperation across government agencies, international partners and private industry, he said.” Full story: https://spacenews.com/vp-wants-more-diversity-in-the-national-space-councils-industry-advisory-group/ In additional comments at Satellite 2021, Parikh said, “Part of my decision criteria to come back into government was if and only if there was a continued commitment on behalf of the Administration to be able to do what we’ve been doing over the past several Administrations … on space, whether it’s space security, commercial space, and, of course, our civil space program and international partnerships. And I can tell you with first hand knowledge that … the Biden-Harris Administration and particularly Vice President Harris is very enthused about this and committed to ensuring U.S. leadership in space across civil, commercial and national security efforts.” International partnerships, including developing norms of behavior, is another priority. Another is moving forward with the work of the Office of Space Commerce at the Department of Commerce. “We definitely want to make sure they are enabled to provide the regulatory as well as advocacy functions that we need on behalf of the commercial space industry,” he said. Parikh did not say when the first Space Council meeting will take place, but the White House said it would be in “the fall” when they announced his appointment. That would put it sometime before December 21.
According to Air Force Magazine, Within 30 days, Space Force office that buys commercial satellite services for the Department of Defense will publish a timeline for the implementation of new cybersecurity standards that private sector satcom providers must meet if they want to compete for contracts to supply the Air Force and other military services.
Gen. John Raymond, Chief of Space Operations, spoke this afternoon before the New America virtual Future Security Forum on “Redefining National Security for 2040.” Of note, New America has been characterized as a centrist/liberal-leaning think tank and was founded in 1999. A few highlights:
“There’s nothing we do that isn’t enabled by space … access to space and freedom of movement in space is absolutely critical.”
On what you see in 20 years,
On the growing commercial space,
On how Space Force is so connected to technology and the “most exciting and game-changing for the next 20 years and the technology we get wrong”,
On something CSO spends too much if his time on that he hopes is solved by 2041,
On Space Traffic Management,
According to Breaking Defense, The United Kingdom is circulating a draft UN resolution that calls for new discussions designed to create international norms and principles for responsible behavior for military activities in space. “The proposal, obtained by Breaking Defense, would set up what is a called an Open Ended Working Group to meet twice in 2022 and 2023 in the hopes of reaching consensus on voluntary measures to restrain actions in orbit likely to be seen as threatening by other nations.” According to the story, Audrey Schafer, space policy lead at the National Space Council, and Eric Desautels, acting deputy assistant secretary of state for emerging security challenges and defense policy, are slated to speak Sept. 17 on norms at the annual AMOS Conference on space situational awareness in Maui. Full story: https://breakingdefense.com/2021/09/exclusive-uk-pushes-new-un-accord-on-military-space-norms/