In a White House meeting with Republican leaders Wednesday, President Trump acceded to a strategy of passing as many fiscal 2019 spending bills as possible before the midterm elections and funding the remaining ones through a continuing resolution, while delaying a battle over funding for a border wall until afterward. Trump’s ultimate intentions remain unclear, however, as he signaled at the beginning of the meeting that a partial shutdown is still an option if vetoing a spending bill is necessary to secure border wall funding. “If it happens, it happens. If it’s about border security, I’m willing to do anything,” Trump said, reported CQ. “If it’s about border security I’m willing to do what has to be done.” … Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe (R) on Wednesday was named the next chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, succeeding the late John McCain. The announcement by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) followed a vote by the Republican Conference, reports Defense News. “America is facing new and unprecedented threats that are different from anything we’ve seen before,” Inhofe said in a statement. “As chairman, it will be my priority to address these threats while maintaining a staunch commitment to service members and their families, as well as continue the bipartisan tradition of rigorous accountability and oversight of the Defense Department.” The full Senate, which will next be in session Thursday, must still vote before Inhofe can officially take the gavel. … Lawmakers are close to completing negotiations on a conference report for a fiscal 2019 spending package that includes the military construction-Veterans Affairs, energy-water and legislative branch spending bills, but disputes over several water-related policy issues are holding up a final deal. Talks over the milcon portion appear to be complete after negotiators finally resolved the issue of how to fund an extra $1.1 billion for private medical care access for veterans. Lawmakers are expected to reach a final deal shortly, setting up floor votes next week, reports CQ.
Army photo by Sgt. Thomas Scaggs