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Author: TriSec    Date: 11/26/2019 10:51:37

Good Morning.

Since we've all been focused on the goings-on inside the beltway for weeks now, AAV will join the "fun" too!

Of course the news is impeachment, but is it coming at the detriment of all else? In what reads like an attack piece, the Military Times is calling out the Democrats on a key veteran's issue. If this is true - perhaps a re-thinking of priorities may be somewhat in order.

Calling it a crucial step to stem veterans suicide, top Veterans Affairs leaders have mounted an intense pressure campaign against a House Democratic committee leader to force a quick vote on legislation that would allow outside groups to provide some mental health intervention at taxpayer expense.

The effort has included personal lobbying from VA Secretary Robert Wilkie on behalf of the bill, unusual given the small, focused scope of the proposal and the high-level involvement in legislative process minutia.

But Wilkie, in a call with Military Times prompted by VA on the topic, said the moves are needed because of the importance of finding new suicide prevention solutions.

“We have an opportunity to get this all done before Christmas, to get started on helping veterans with this plan quickly,” he said. “But now, given what the majority (House Democrats) are doing, we’re at a standstill.”

House Veterans Affairs Committee leaders dispute that, saying the secretary is interfering with normal negotiations over bill language and drafting. In a statement, committee Chairman Mark Takano, D-Calif., said he remains “committed to reaching a bipartisan compromise on legislation to prevent veteran suicide before the Christmas break.”

He pushed back on accusations from the department that VA and Republican suggestions are being ignored, saying that conversations are ongoing and the final proposal language is not set.

But that's not all that's happening in Washington. How many years has it been now that we haven't had a proper budget, and the House and Senate keep passing stopgap spending bills so the government doesn't shut down? It's no longer even in the news, but of course it's happened again.

WASHINGTON -- The Republican-held Senate passed a temporary government-wide spending bill that would keep federal agencies up and running through Dec. 20 and avert a government shutdown after midnight Thursday.

The spending bill, passed by a 74-20 vote, would keep the federal government open for another month in hopes the additional time will help negotiators wrap up more than $1.4 trillion in unfinished appropriations bills.

The vote sends the measure to President Donald Trump for his signature.

The stopgap spending bill would give negotiators four more weeks to try and break an impasse involving funding for Trump’s border wall project, which has gridlocked progress on the 12 appropriations measures that fund about one-third of the government.

Talks on the broader full-year appropriations measures have hit a rough patch after the administration rejected bipartisan entreaties to add about $5 billion to grease their path.

Negotiations on the full-year measure also could be buffeted by the toxic atmosphere that’s worsening because of the ongoing impeachment probe, which could send articles of impeachment to the House floor around the Dec. 20 deadline for averting another potential shutdown.

The chief holdup is Trump’s demands for up to $8.6 billion more for the U.S.-Mexico border wall. Republicans controlling the Senate have stuck with Trump despite worries that an impasse over his demands could force Congress into resorting to funding the government for the entire budget year at current spending levels.

“The appropriations process can go down one of two paths. On the first path, President Trump stays out of our way and gives Congress the space to work together and find an agreement,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. "On the second path, President Trump stomps his feet, makes impossible demands, and prevents his party, the Republicans, from coming to a fair arrangement.”

Let's wrap up overseas in the "With Friends Like That..." departemnt. Turkey is probably not the most solid NATO ally. But they've taken a step that isn't sitting too well with the United States. As you probably know, we sell them a large amount of military aircraft. But Turkey has gone ahead and bought and deployed the S-400 defense system, which was designed by Russia to defeat said US aircraft. If there's no "quid pro quo' in a back channel someplace, I would be truly surprised.

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkish media say Turkey is poised to begin testing Russian-made S-400 air defense systems, despite threats of sanctions from the United States.

The Milliyet newspaper, which has close links to the government, said Monday that the military is planning to test the S-400s that are currently deployed at an airbase in the outskirts of the Ankara.

Turkey took delivery of two Russian S-400 batteries this year, dismissing warnings from the United States that they pose a threat to NATO security. As a result, Washington suspended Turkish participation in the multinational F-35 fighter jet program.

U.S. legislators have warned of sanctions if Turkey activates the system.

Here's hoping that you have a quiet and bountiful Thanksgiving this week - and don't forget our peripatetic friend Blogger Joe!


10 comments (Latest Comment: 11/26/2019 20:55:27 by TriSec)
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