DC Digest – May 11, 2015

In Today’s Issue:

  • The Week in Washington
  • Senate Adopts FY16 Budget Resolution Agreement
  • Joint Chiefs Chair Martin Dempsey (G ’84) Credits Mom

House of Representatives: The House of Representatives will debate the National Defense Authorization Act of 2016 (NDAA) this week, a measure establishing the budget and spending for the Department of Defense and its related activities. Immigration issues, specifically whether or not immigrants without documentation should be eligible to serve in the military, are expected to draw debate. Other topics on this week’s agenda: a measure that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, the Senate-passed Iran bill, and reauthorization of the Patriot Act.

Senate: The Senate will turn its attention to trade this week, with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) hoping to hold a vote on “fast-track” authority on Tuesday. This legislation would give the President the ability to pass trade legislation through Congress with a simple majority vote. The debate is making for some unusual bedfellows: the administration and Sen. McConnell are in favor of the legislation, while Minority Leader Reid, among others in the Republican caucus, are threatening to block it. Meanwhile, the Senate Armed Services Committee begins their consideration of the NDAA.

White House: Most notable for the White House this week is what won’t be on the schedule: a visit from the King of Saudi Arabia. The Saudi King, who was supposed to hold meetings at the White House on Wednesday before attending a summit with other leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Countries, cancelled his trip in what seems to be a signal of the Saudi’s displeasure with the United States’ stance on Iran.

Read More:
This week: Defense, abortion, trade top agenda (thehill.com)
Saudi Arabian King not coming to White House meetings with Gulf allies (cnn.com)


The Senate on May 5 gave final approval to the FY16 budget resolution conference report (S. Con. Res. 11 ), marking the first time in six years that Congress has been able to agree on a budget blueprint. The measure, which passed the Senate by a vote of 51 to 48, provides overall guidance for spending but is not signed into law by the President. It was approved by the House on April 30.

The FY16 agreement technically adheres to the spending caps enacted in the Budget Control Act for both defense and nondefense discretionary spending in FY16, but it bolsters defense spending by an extra $38 billion through the Overseas Contingency Operations fund, which is not counted against the spending caps.


General Martin Dempsey (G ’84), chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says that his work ethic and sense of discipline were cultivated at a young age from the lessons of two very important women: his mother and grandmother.  Happy Mother’s Day (a day late) from OFR!

Read More:
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, Gen. Martin Dempsey, on His Mother’s Influence (maker.com)