25 Sep 15. Boehner’s exit raises uncertainty on budget moves. House Speaker John Boehner’s unexpected resignation announcement sent lawmakers and lobbyists scrambling to understand what the move will mean for the impending government shutdown and long-term budget issues. Boehner, the Ohio Republican who has served as speaker since 2012 and as the top Republican House member since 2007, told party members Friday morning that he intends to step down from his leadership post by the end of October. He’ll also retire from Congress, ending his 24-year legislative career. He did not speak to reporters after the announcement, but later released a statement saying that “prolonged leadership turmoil would do irreparable damage to the (House).”
The news came as Republican leaders spar over how to handle a series of budget extension proposals to keep the federal government operating past Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year. Moderates within the House GOP caucus have been pushing for any plan that will avoid a shutdown, but more conservative members have vowed to strip funding from Planned Parenthood programs at any cost. Senate Republicans have already moved ahead with plans for a “clean” continuing resolution after Democrats blocked an attempt to drop the Planned Parenthood funds.
Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said he did not think Boehner’s announcement Friday would change the look of the fight, adding that his party “still needs to show that we can govern.”
But House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called Boehner’s resignation a “seismic” event and an “indication of the disarray of House Republicans.”
It’s unclear whether Boehner’s impending departure gives him the political freedom to ignore hard-line complaints within his own party and fashion a bipartisan budget compromise, or if it cedes power to those insurgent lawmakers and makes any deal less likely.
If a compromise can’t be reached, it would lead to a partial government shutdown, the first since similar political infighting two years ago. Pentagon officials informed defense civilian employees Friday that thousands of them will be furloughed if a budget extension is not approved.
Boehner’s departure is the second major Republican leadership shakeup in 13 months. Last summer, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., lost a primary challenge and stepped down before the end of his term.
The frontrunner to replace Boehner is House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who praised the outgoing speaker as “a true statesman” whose decisions all have been geared toward what’s best for the American public.
“Now is the time for our conference to focus on healing and unifying to face the challenges ahead and always do what is best for the American people,” he said in a statement.
The five-term congressman has largely stayed out of defense issues on Capitol Hill, with the exception of local California issues.
But Pentagon officials repeatedly have pleaded for more budget certainty from Congress, and Boehner’s tenure as speaker has been marred by infighting and an inability to negotiate realistic long-term budget plans with the Senate. Critics have suggested that a different leader may have more success balancing the often fractious ideologies within the Republican Party. (Source: Defense News)
25 Sep 15. Rogers discusses NSA reorganization, National Security threats. Navy Adm. Michael S. Rogers, director of the National Security Agency, previewed an upcoming NSA reorganization and discussed a range of national security threats with members of a Senate panel here yesterday.
Rogers, also commander of U.S. Cyber Command, testified before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
Rogers began his testimony by describing the work of “the nation’s cryptologic arm” and its 40,000 civilian and military employees in 31 states and worldwide.
“NSA now plays a key role in cyberspace, assisting U.S. government efforts t