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August 1, 2015

Posts in "John McCain"

July 7, 2015

McCain Awards Service Medal to World War II POW

john mccain

McCain, Pedevillano and Spencer attended Tuesday’s ceremony in the Russell Building. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

From one military pilot prisoner of war to another.

Armed Services Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., awarded a distinguished service medal to a World War II veteran, 2nd Lt. John Pedevillano, at a small ceremony Tuesday on Capitol Hill.

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Watch Live: Senate Hearing on White House ISIS Strategy

The Senate Armed Services Committee holds a hearing Tuesday on the Obama administration’s strategy against the Islamic State terror group.

Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin E. Dempsey are expected to testify.

Coverage begins at 9:30 a.m. Full story

By JM Rieger Posted at 9:22 a.m.
ISIS, John McCain, Videos

June 18, 2015

Senate Waste Watchers Soldier On

From left, Sens. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., John McCain, R-Ariz., and Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., appeared with Pigfoot, a mascot for Citizens Against Government Waste. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

From left, Toomey, McCain and Jeff Flake appeared with Pigfoot, a mascot for Citizens Against Government Waste, in May. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A dog-bite prevention website. Vermont puppet shows. Researching the bomb-sniffing capabilities of elephants.

Those are just some government spending projects labeled “wasteful” in this Congress by a crop of lawmakers who continue to take on the mantle of pork busters four years after Ohio Republican John A. Boehner banned earmarks after he took the speaker’s gavel in 2011.

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June 15, 2015

McCain Eager to Finish Defense Bill, but Amendment Landmines Remain

National Defense Authorization Act

McCain hopes to complete work on the defense bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The defense policy bill could get off the Senate floor this week the easy way — or the hard way.

Senators will enter their third partial week of floor debate on the National Defense Authorization Act when they return Monday, with a key vote to limit debate on the measure occurring Tuesday morning unless there is an agreement to change the schedule.

Full story

June 4, 2015

Senate Adopts Plan to Halt Pentagon’s ‘Paid-for Patriotism’ (Updated)

pentagon spending

McCain and Flake are teaming up to stop the Pentagon from spending money to honor troops at sporting events. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 6:22 p.m. | A trio of senators, including the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, have won the support of their colleagues to block the Pentagon from spending taxpayer dollars to honor troops at sporting events.

The proposal would bar the use of federal contracts to have members of the armed services honored at sporting events. The practice came to light when Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., highlighted an agreement between the NFL’s New York Jets and the New Jersey National Guard.

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May 31, 2015

Angry John McCain Calls Rand Paul ‘the Worst’ (Video)

Two Republicans did stand with Rand Paul: Reps. Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Justin Amash of Michigan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Two Republicans did stand with Rand Paul: Reps. Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Justin Amash of Michigan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Not that Rand Paul was counting on his support, but it’s pretty clear that Sen. John McCain does not #StandWithRand.

McCain took several opportunities Sunday night to torch the Kentucky Republican and 2016 presidential hopeful. Full story

May 27, 2015

Menendez, McCain Sent Letter to FIFA Just Before Indictments

McCain says Obama's "shameful" decision to pull troops from Iraq years ago led to the loss of Ramadi. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

McCain joined with Menendez in sending a letter to FIFA on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Well, this timing was prescient.

On Tuesday afternoon, Sens. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and John McCain, R-Ariz., fired off a letter to the FIFA Congress encouraging the international soccer governing body to reconsider granting a fifth term at the helm to President Sepp Blatter.

The election had been scheduled for later this week at a meeting in Switzerland, but that plan may have to change after Swiss law enforcement agents swept through a hotel where top FIFA authorities gathered to round up officials on criminal charges in the United States, as The New York Times reported from Zurich.

Full story

May 5, 2015

Senators Vow to Protect Air Force’s A-10 Fleet

Graham, R-S.C., speaks with reporters in the Capitol on Tuesday, April 21, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Graham, R-S.C., speaks with reporters in the Capitol last month. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate defense hawks fired warning shots over the Air Force’s nose on Tuesday over plans to retire the A-10 Warthog, vowing to fund the fleet through the National Defense Authorization Act.

The Air Force, looking to save more than $4 billion over the next few years, has pushed recently to retire the fleet of close-air support aircraft. But without an adequate replacement, Congress is clamoring for answers. Full story

April 28, 2015

McCain Sets Stage for Fight Over Drones

Armed Services Chairman McCain wants to get the CIA out of the business of drone strikes. Senate Intelligence Chairman Burr, left, may have other ideas. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Armed Services Chairman McCain, right, wants to get the CIA out of the business of drone strikes. Senate Intelligence Chairman Burr  may have other ideas. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. John McCain is planning to shift the CIA’s secretive drone program to the Defense Department through the National Defense Authorization Act, setting the stage for a fight later this year with Senate Intelligence leaders and making him an unlikely ally of President Barack Obama. Full story

March 31, 2015

10 Things We Learned From the Vote-a-Rama

vote-a-rama

Toomey got attention for changing his vote during last week’s vote-a-rama. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With the vote-a-rama in the rearview mirror, it’s worth taking stock of what the 15-plus hours of nonbinding votes on dozens of amendments said about the 2016 presidential election, how vulnerable senators voted and what issues might now come to the fore. Full story

March 25, 2015

Harry Reid, GOP Senators Join Forces to Approve Highway (Updated)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 6:11 p.m. | Harry Reid’s bid to push a new highway through Nevada before he faces the voters next year has a powerful Republican ally — James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma.

The minority leader’s re-election fight is sure to be one of the most contentious of 2016, but under the Dome, the push for an extended Interstate 11 from southern Arizona to Interstate 80 in the northern part of the Silver State is a bipartisan affair.

The junior senator from Nevada, Republican Dean Heller of Nevada, sponsored the legislation and wrote a letter backing it in May 2014.

In addition to Reid, the highway is also backed by Republicans John McCain and Jeff Flake, both of Arizona — as well as Inhofe, the chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee. McCain is also up for re-election next year.

Full story

March 9, 2015

Republicans Not Rushing to Criticize Menendez

Kirk says reports of indictment could be "politically motivated" leak by the Justice Department. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Kirk says reports of indictment could be a “politically motivated” leak by the Justice Department. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Mark S. Kirk became the latest Republican to suggest reports of corruption charges against Sen. Robert Menendez are the result of “politically motivated” leaks by the Justice Department.

Echoing speculation from Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Kirk told reporters Monday night that timing of the news about a pending indictment for the New Jersey Democrat could be related to efforts by Menendez to rally support within his party for an Iran sanctions bill.

Full story

February 26, 2015

McConnell’s Move to Avert Shutdown Cheers Vulnerable Senators Up in 2016

McConnell wants to end the DHS funding fight ASAP. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

McConnell wants to end the DHS funding fight ASAP. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is always looking ahead to the next election.

And as much as the Kentucky Republican’s move to go ahead with a clean bill funding the Department of Homeland Security drew the ire of the conservative base, others including those on the ballot and vulnerable in 2016 said it was important to resolve the issue and get on with the GOP agenda.

Republican Sen. Mark S. Kirk, who is running for re-election in the generally blue state of Illinois, said Tuesday that GOP senators should tell the House Republicans who are against advancing the appropriations bill without riders in opposition to President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration that “this is the way the Senate demands this go.”

Full story

February 10, 2015

Durbin: ‘Lives Are in the Balance’ in ISIS War Authorization

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

(Biivesl Clark/CQ Roll Call)

“Lives are in the balance,” Sen. Richard J. Durbin told reporters Tuesday on the importance of getting the balance right in a proposed Authorization for Use of Military Force against the Islamic State terror group.

The No. 2 Democrat spoke at length to reporters after being briefed on the draft resolution presented by President Barack Obama’s top aide and counsel during Tuesday’s party lunch.

He detailed the administration’s plans to have a broad-based authorization that would cover the group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, without limiting the fight geographically to Syria and Iraq, as well as the key question of limits on offensive ground operations. The Illinois Democrat also is the ranking member of the Defense appropriations subcommittee.

How does this compare with language the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved last year?
Durbin: “The starting point was the [former Foreign Relations Chairman Robert] Menendez language. Made some changes on it. We’re really working with critical, important language, and it comes down to a phrase or two, and we just have to look at it very closely.”

Sen. John McCain, R- Ariz. finds it unconstitutional, too restrictive to the commander-in-chief. How do you find common ground? Is a three-year time frame enough comfort?

Durbin: “I like the three-year time frame. It means that it will apply to this president during the remainder of his term and to the succeeding president for one year. What it means: whoever’s elected president after Obama has to start thinking immediately about the renewal of AUMF and discussing it with Congress.

“I disagree with John, obviously. John and I see the world quite a bit differently. I think the Constitution delegates to Congress the authority to declare war, and the American people speak through Congress. And if we put limitations on the president about who he can fight, where he can fight, how he can fight — I think that’s consistent with the intention of the Founding Fathers.”

Is the draft crafted to avoid mission creep?

Durbin: “Well, that’s why we always come back to the same phrase — enduring offensive ground operations. As someone noted in our meeting here, incidentally we’re talking about the Department of Defense. So, there is hardly any military operation that cannot be characterized as a defensive operation, and those are exempt. What we limit are enduring offensive. I hate to get into weeds but when you’re talking about the commitment of a nation to war and lives are in the balance, that’s where we have to really dig in.”

What does the proposal do in terms of the 2002 authorization?

Durbin: “The Afghan AUMF continues, and it’s the Iraq resolution that’s being replaced.”

Would 2001 AUMF also be placed on a three-year timeline?

Durbin: “That wasn’t brought up, and I don’t think that’s the proposal.”

Do you have concerns the White House draft would change the Senate Foreign Affairs version with regard to geographic limits?

Durbin: “See now that’s tricky. So, here’s why it’s tricky: If we limit our actions against ISIS to any locale, it really means by argument that there are safe havens they can go to and escape pursuit by the United States. I understand that. We’ve got to be able to pursue non-state, multinational operations wherever they threaten the United States or our interests.”

Are you comfortable with specifics tailoring to Islamic State? The associated forces phrase was very problematic in 2001.

Durbin: “It is still. It is still. They’re hard to pin down. If you had asked us three years ago, ‘What about the Islamic State?’ people would have opposed, [questioning] ‘What is it?’ That just shows you how quickly the circumstances and names can change. So we’ve got to give enough flexibility to have the next generation of ISIS also in our target.”

Both parties have said they want to see significant changes to what the president is suggesting but in opposite directions. How does bipartisan compromise happen and how long will it take?

Durbin: “I don’t know the answer to that because we have not really taken a task like this on in a long, long time. The last time we came close to it was the decision to invade Iraq, where there was a lot of debate, back and forth, Democrats and Republicans. It was [then-Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr.] and it was the Republicans who were stepping up with their own views of things. I assume it starts, the first venue is the Foreign Relations Committee, but beyond that it clearly is going to be a subject for floor debate.”

Debate on war hasn’t taken place in a decade. Why has it been so delayed when we’re already in the war and months of work is expected?

Durbin: “It is not easy but it’s important. And I hope all members of both political parties will accept their responsibility. This is one of those things where we know lives are at stake – American lives as well as the survival of our enemy. So we’ve got to take the time to get it right but we shouldn’t delay it in petty politics.”

The 114th: CQ Roll Call’s Guide to the New Congress

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February 4, 2015

Watch Live: Defense Secretary Nominee Ash Carter Confirmation Hearing

Ashton B. Carter, President Barack Obama’s pick to head the Department of Defense, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee. The hearing begins at 9:30 a.m.

The 114th: CQ Roll Call’s Guide to the New Congress

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