Mazie K Hirono

Armed Services panel to huddle on three top Pentagon nominees
Joint Chiefs vice chairman nominee faces stiff headwinds

The committee will probably vote overwhelmingly to give its consent to Army Secretary Mark Esper becoming the next Pentagon chief. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate Armed Services Committee, in a closed-door meeting Thursday, is expected to approve the president’s choice for Defense secretary and Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman and to discuss the embattled nomination of the Air Force general tapped to be the military’s No. 2 general, committee members and staff said Wednesday.

The committee will probably vote overwhelmingly to give its consent to Army Secretary Mark Esper becoming the next Pentagon chief, clearing the way for a Senate vote in the coming days to confirm him. The panel is also expected to send to the floor the nomination of Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley to be the next Joint Chiefs chairman.

Esper approval likely, but sexual assault allegations slow Joint Chiefs vice chair pick
Kirsten Gillibrand told CQ Roll Call that she would not support even giving Hyten a vote

The Senate Armed Services committee is expected on Thursday to approve Secretary of the Army and Secretary of Defense nominee Mark Esper as the next Pentagon chief. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 7:05 p.m. | The Senate Armed Services Committee, in a closed-door meeting Thursday, is expected to approve the president’s choice for Defense secretary and Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman and to discuss the embattled nomination of the Air Force general tapped to be the military’s No. 2 general, committee members and staff said Wednesday.

The committee will probably vote overwhelmingly to give its consent to Army Secretary Mark Esper becoming the next Pentagon chief, clearing the way for a Senate vote in the coming days to confirm him. The panel is also expected to send to the floor the nomination of Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley to be the next Joint Chiefs chairman.

Hirono gives emotional plea for migrant children and families

Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, attends a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center on Democrats' year end priorities including "reauthorizing the Children's Health Insurance Program, funding community health centers, and passing the Dream Act," on December 14, 2017. Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Confirmation hearing planned Tuesday for Trump’s Defense secretary pick
The hearing has been scheduled, even though the panel is still waiting to receive his official nomination from the White House

Secretary of the Army Mark T. Esper, left, and Gen. Mark A. Milley, Army chief of staff, testify during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing March 26, 2019. Esper is expected to go before the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday for a hearing on his confirmation to be the next Defense Secretary. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate Armed Services Committee intends to hold a confirmation hearing for Mark Esper, the president’s pick to be the next Defense secretary, on Tuesday even though the panel is still waiting to receive his official nomination from the White House. 

The committee cannot hold Esper’s hearing until the White House delivers his formal nomination paperwork, but have tentatively planned the hearing anyway believing they will soon receive the nomination.

‘We are not going to be intimidated into making stupid decisions,’ Joint Chiefs pick says
At a confirmation hearing, senators expressed hope for steadiness and steeliness from the U.S. military’s top officer

Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, nominee for chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, arrives for his Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing in Dirksen Building on Thursday, July 11, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Armed Services members expressed hope Thursday for steadiness and steeliness from the U.S. military’s top officer, with the Pentagon beset by leadership chaos and the president reacting unconventionally to proliferating threats.

The occasion was a confirmation hearing for Gen. Mark Milley, the Army chief, who has been nominated to be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Senate approves border bill; Pelosi and Trump talk compromise

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and other Democratic leaders are weighing their next move on a border supplemental aid package. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 10:35 p.m. | With the Senate’s passage of its version of a border supplemental funding bill Wednesday, and its rejection of the House measure, negotiations between the White House, Senate and House leaders will now attempt to nail down a compromise before Congress leaves for the July Fourth recess.

Several disagreements lie at the heart of Senate and House differences on the two bills. The Senate bill rejected some of the tight restrictions the House included in its measure on the care of migrant children in government custody. The Senate also added in more money than the House for border enforcement agencies and for more immigration judges.

3 things to watch: Before any Iran conflict, Trump faces war within his own team
'Iran made a very big mistake,' president warns in cryptic tweet after U.S. drone shot down

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, and Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., are among the more promiment hawks when it comes to Iran. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS | Donald Trump is facing one of the biggest tests of his presidency after Iran shot down a U.S. military aircraft, prompting him to declare the islamic republic “made a very big mistake.”

His tweet at 10:16 a.m. Thursday broke the nearly 15 hours of essential White House silence on the missile takedown of the RQ-4 Global Hawk drone aircraft. But the U.S. commander in chief did not suggest he is ready to respond — even after a top Iranian official admitted the shootdown was meant as a “clear message” to Washington.

Women senators ‘shame the guys to hurry up and vote’
Female lawmakers push their male colleagues to pick up the pace

Her female colleagues said it was Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s idea to shame their male colleagues into getting their business done in the time allotted. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The women of the United States Senate took their colleagues to task Wednesday for taking too long to vote.

In the middle of a vote series that typically would have appeared mundane— with members frequently leaving the floor during one vote and returning during the next, or sitting in the cloakroom on their cell phones — most of the women were seated at desks, calling for regular order in an attempt to speed up what have become increasingly long series.

Barr will be a no-show at House Judiciary Committee
AG objects to staff asking questions about special counsel probe

Attorney General Bill Barr testifies during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the “Department of Justice’s Investigation of Russian Interference with the 2016 Presidential Election” on Wednesday, May 1, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Attorney General William Barr will not appear as scheduled before the House Judiciary Committee about the special counsel probe Thursday, as he objects to a format that would allow committee staff to ask questions, the Justice Department announced.

Earlier Wednesday, the House panel approved a plan to allow an extra hour of time — divided into equal 30-minute, unbroken segments for each party — for either lawmakers or committee staff to ask questions.

Social Security could go broke by 2035, but lawmakers have new ideas to fix it
If policymakers wait too long, solutions to fixing the program may involve politically unpalatable options

Rep. John Larson, D-Conn., leaves the Capitol after the final votes of the week on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There’s nothing like waiting until the last minute — as long as waiting doesn’t make the problem worse.

Therein lies the conundrum facing lawmakers and 2020 presidential candidates when it comes to Social Security, which last year paid out retirement and disability benefits to some 63 million Americans.