Several defensive and offensive missile-themed provisions that originated in the Republican-controlled House have drawn opposition from the White House.
The Obama administration decried as too risky and too expensive a push by lawmakers to accelerate the deployment to Poland of a land-based version of the Aegis missile defense system by sometime in 2016, and short-range antimissile capabilities by late 2014.
House missile-defense advocates had inserted language to that effect into the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill. The legislation is expected to be considered on the House floor this week.
Meant by its supporters as a counterweight to Moscow’s recent moves, the speedier fielding of defensive systems would “not change Russia’s security calculation in Europe,” the White House argued in a Monday statement of administration policy.
U.S. officials also fear that short-range antimissile weaponry deployed to Poland would “limit the ability of the United States to meet its worldwide operational missile defense requirements.”
The White House also opposed bill language that would force the Pentagon to keep existing intercontinental ballistic missile silos available for possible use. The provision in question was spearheaded by lawmakers from states hosting these facilities.
“While it is the president’s determination that 50 of the current 450 Minuteman 3 silos will remain in a non-deployed — warm — status, this provision would tie the hands of all presidents with respect to force structure through [February] 2021,” the statement of administration policy reads.
Officials lamented as “premature and potentially wasteful” language to set aside $20 million for the planning and design of an East Coast missile field of long-range interceptors. Lawmakers had inserted to provision with an eye toward boosting the defensive capability against a potential attack from North Korea and elsewhere.
The Pentagon did not request money for an East Coast site in its fiscal 2015 budget proposal. Defense officials have said they remain unsure if such a site is necessary.
What We're Following See More »
The "benchmark" Obamacare silver plan—"upon which federal subsidies are based—will cost an average of $296 a month next year," an increase of 22% over current averages. That figure, however, "masks wide variation among the states. In Arizona, the benchmark plan's average premium will increase 116% in 2017. Arizona had the lowest rates of any state this year, said Kathryn Martin, an acting assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. In Indiana, the benchmark plan will be 3% cheaper."
Sources tell CNN that longtime Democratic operative Ron Klain, who has been Vice President Biden's chief of staff, is "high on the list of prospects" to be chief of staff in a Clinton White House. "John Podesta, the campaign chairman, has signaled his interest in joining the Cabinet, perhaps as Energy secretary."
"AT&T Inc.’s $85.4 billion deal to buy Time Warner Inc. sails toward two cresting waves of opposition: resurgent antitrust enforcement in Washington and politicians fired by a new bipartisan populist rage. It is too early to know how regulators will treat the AT&T-Time Warner deal. But after several quiet years, President Barack Obama’s antitrust team has switched into high gear in response to a recent spurt of deal-making," a trend that's likely to continue into the next administration. The Obama Justice Department has scuttled 43 mergers, "more than double the mergers blocked by the preceding Bush Justice Department."
Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump 49%-44% in a new CNN/ORC poll out Monday afternoon. But it's Gary Johnson's performance, or lack thereof, that's the real story. Johnson, who had cleared 10% in some surveys earlier this fall, as he made a bid to qualify for the debates, is down to 3% support. He must hit 5% nationwide for the Libertarian Party to qualify for some federal matching funds in future elections.
The majority and minority leader of the House are both saying "California's veterans are not to blame for being mistakenly overpaid, after a Los Angeles Times story revealed that officials are trying to claw back millions in bonuses from California National Guardsmen. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy called the efforts to recoup the money 'disgraceful,' and asked for the Department of Defense to waive the repayments soldiers would be forced to make if they inappropriately received re-enlistment bonuses for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan." Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she's looking for a "legislative fix" in the lame-duck session.