tv Washington Journal Leo Shane Discusses the Future of U.S. Defense Programs CSPAN September 16, 2017 3:27pm-3:58pm EDT
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>> we're talking out with leo shane, a capitol hill sheath -- the future of defense programs is the topic. remind us of first of what the senate is up to now. what is the defense authorization bill? this is their big policy measure. this is in conjunction with the appropriations bill. this is for the purpose of the budget for next year. we have a military pay raise, all sorts of bonuses, equipment -- a wide range. measure forthe key defense on capitol hill, i'll -- as well as with the appropriations bill. >> what else does the senate version have in it? at $700 billion. we saw the house version that's havetly less, all of these a base defense budget of over $600 billion, well above what the caps on are for the fiscal
2018. one of the things that had to be resolved is how to pay for this. we haven't seen anything so far. democrats are saying, this is great exercise, but it's ridiculous. were not getting anywhere. this, wee to pass would see budget cuts across the board. pathreally presented a here on how this is going to become law. >> the summit was in session most of last week on this bill, but there were a lot of amendments, items that didn't get there. what are some of them? >> we were expecting interesting issues -- a lot of conversation around, howlosing to much -- too big of a footprint in the u.s.. -- thes hasn't liked it president actually put out a statement, saying this is one of
the things that must be included in here. uded. the issue of transgendered troops and the controversy about trump's decision to bar new recruits from transition and service members. all of these things or sort of of otherign by handful amendments and finally leadership. we decided we are not going to bring anything unless we can get an agreement on it. now, we are teed up for next week. sometime in the week, we will pass on what to say a clean bill, there is still the deal stuff in there, but the much a bill passed out of the service committee composed earlier this summer. >> we will take your lost for leo shane just calls from the ocean in a few moments. 202-788-40,000. independence, you are number 2027-40 2002 -- we do have a line for active duty military.
202-74 8-8003. chiefcapitol hill bureau for the military times, he is talking to us about key issues facing the military. let's hear from senator john mccain, chairman of arms services talked about the importance is of funding for this bill. is critical to begin addressing a shortfall and modernization crisis called by the self-inflicted ones of the budget controller. known as sequestration, and repeated continuing resolutions. fatal accident routine trading operations evidence of the deteriorated state of our military. actionsns in aviation of taken lives of our service members and -- at an alarming rate. years, we haveee killed four times as many of our
desk soldiers than our enemies have in combat. while there are plenty of responsibilities to around, we cannot it in our congresses will budget cuts have four-star military to try to do too much with too little. meanwhile, our adversaries are invested heavily in their own militaries, and feature word for capabilities intended to a rotor military advantage. simply put, we cannot wait any longer, we capitalize our forces and capabilities. this has been one of the key points. this issue of readiness. in the last few weeks, we have seen pretty serious acts that have cost military member lives away from combat. we heard a lot of the issue of we need more money, more
planning, to make sure that training modularization and issues are recovered. beenourt fight has still the democrats want to see not just military money increased, but also funding for the state department, for diplomacy, for dozens of other domestic agencies. this week tosting hear just how strong some of the republicans were connecting this issue of readiness, frankly the safety and lives of troops and that we, to the idea have boost the defense budget. grexit remind us of what the house passed. same, these bills are the there are a couple of small differences here and there. fight differences in the pay raise, in the military in strength, the house is calling for 5000 more troops and 19,000 more than what president trump asked for. number of ships and things. this is difficult.
the money that is processed goes to the house, the senate prepares their version, they get into a conference committee and come up with a compromise. the difference this year is everything is late. we are almost midway through september and still have not passed this. host: what are the priorities of the administration? guest: they have set this up as the start of rebuilding the military. you heard that from president trump during the campaign. our military is broken, it doesn't have enough money or resources, we need to get money back on track. they say that this sets us up for long-term shipbuilding increases and more aircraft and strength bonuses. that has been their focus within , that is finding efficiencies. ways to cut headquarters staff and trim back on the bureaucracy.
host: let's talk to kelly, independent caller from west virginia. welcome. caller: thank you. i know that trump came out with the ban on transgenders. that was a decision made by the military leaders, and now you see all these people grandstanding. and making speeches, people protesting. that should be a military decision. that should not be up to the congress or senate or civilians protesting. guest: just to that point, the military was looking at whether or not to allow transgender recruits to come -- to become service members. last year the military had , already made the decision last may that transgender military members did not pose any additional issue. the difference was when
president trump cannot -- came out unexpectedly and said suddenly we are not going to allow transgender recruits, and we may kick out members of the military who are transgender. what the military is doing now is going for a review. this is a political issue because president trump wade into it, and did not wait the review to finish. host: senator mcconnell cut off debate on the defense bill, and we did not get to vote to protect trans service members. you wrote yesterday that legislation was written to protect service members. -- we are interested with that bipartisan -- guest: it was a bipartisan and especially key members of the senate armed services committee. what is going on now is confusing, and we need to send a
clear message. it could hurt readiness to get rid of. senator mccain has been outspoken on this and many other issues. it is a clear divide between him and the white house now. he has said he will be watching this closely because in his mind taking these folks out is more -- kicking out it -- kicking out these folks is more of a readiness issue than allowing them to serve. host: transgender troops will be allowed to reenlist for now running to a report. -- according to a report. let's go to mike in ohio. caller: good day. every time i go to get my blood pressure medicine, i drive by the national guard location in chillicothe. i will look to my right, and it
is at the base of the great seal of ohio. i see millions and millions of dollars of surplus equipment that look like desert storm equipment. i look across the river, and there are people sleeping in tents. i drive to the center of the city, where the old railroad depot was, and the soil is full of diesel fuel. the way i look at it, this is a fascist, disney production of military contractors, and this world bully idea of us being the planet policeman. we need to take a look at all of these on convicted criminals we house and senate that approve of this business. host: leo shane. guest: there is a lot of concerns about calls from the military. you have heard this room rand
paul for years. donald trump came in and said we do not need to be the world's policeman anymore. we need to reassign some of our priorities, we need to make sure we are protected. i cannot speak to the specific issues in chillicothe. i have not working chillicothe -- i have not worked in chillicothe for about 15 years. there are a lot of concerns that there are ways to save money and reassign this money to domestic priorities. that is a popular sentiment. that is easier said than done. if there is surplus equipment, there are ways to get rid of it, there are unsafe ways. if you are going to sell it, you have to find a buyer. host: from twitter, i am sure with you heating up, the military can get anything it wants. guest: yes and no. this has been the problem of the spending crepes. -- spending caps. there has been a lot of sentiment even among democrats about increasing spending, but
the budget hawks have won. so far this year there has not been a lot of progress on that. they are working behind the scenes. this is one of the things donald trump promised on the campaign trail. i'm going to come in and i'm going to get rid of sequestration, we're going to spend anything we can. if you look at the budget priorities, there are massive increases in defense spending and decreases elsewhere. that's just a proposal written up from yesterday 535 to sign up on it. host: hunter, republican line. hi. caller: i was going to touch on a topic you just mentioned, which is it would not be out of the realm of possibility at the least. we will be at war with north korea soon. i say this unfortunately because of these icbm rockets they keep firing.
they are not backing away from their position. i think china will come into this as they did in 1950. that presents a different problem for our military. as far as readiness is concerned, now is the time to push this idea. you need to do this because we are living in the nuclear age. i'll sign off good morning. , host: thank you. guest: north korea is on the minds of a lot of lawmakers. there is not any language that is specific reaction to anything that happened with the missile tests. that is the undertone to the whole thing. is the military ready for another major war? where are our resources? how do we properly balance that? definitely something that is on the mind of lawmakers and military folks. >> where are we on the issue of additional base closures. >> we are nowhere now.
to senator mccain's chagrin, he was hoping to have an amendment this week. there's still a lot of lawmakers that don't like this idea. we have seen a growing sense from the leaders of the house and senate armed service committee that it may be time to look at this. the backgrounds are mildly unpopular with lawmakers, because if it hits your district, that is a lot of jobs and resources moving out. especially with the last round back in it was questionable with 2005, the savings were in the last round. it takes years to see the savings. there is a lot of environmental cleanup and transfers. initially it costs money. that is one of the big criticisms. if we are going to do this, we cannot afford to spend money now to save money down the road. we need the money now. the fy two that -- host: about
$700 billion, but i want to point out the base defense budget is about $640 billion. i want to point out the overseas contingency operation fund. guest: this was funding the iraq and afghanistan wars for years. now it is this hybrid place that we used to get around spending caps. and also pay for operations overseas. it is supposed to be for overseas operations, fights against isis in iraq and other special missions. over the last 15 years, we have seen that morph into that some pet projects. equipmentreplacing that was maybe lost overseas or deteriorated overseas. we have seen the last administration and this
administration promise we are going to get away from this. it is not the normal budgeting process. it's not how we should be accounting for now it survives , and is an easy device to get around some of those problems. host: walk me through the differences between this bill and the spending bill. guest: that is the actual money with the check. the authorization bill is setting policies and priorities. when we give you the money, here is where we want you to go. for a lot of government agencies, the authorization bill is just rolled into preparations or completely ignored. the authorization bill has achieved special status on capitol hill because it is one of the few like partisan things -- it's one of the few bipartisan things that gets passed every year. for 50 years they have been passing this. it's a broader sense to
different defense priorities. it holds defense to a different level of debate and common conversation about where we should go. >> other than reading leo shane's work, how can folks track our $700 billion in defense billing -- spending. >> all they need to do is read the military times. that is part of it. a lot of groups are trying to keep track of each individual aspect. you have aircraft, ships, and tri-care benefits, personnel issues. then you have some policy issues that might not have a dollar attached to them but can have larger impact. caller: good morning. the american people have got to wake up. they iraq war was sold as a lie.
we know all the money spent in iraq, all the lives that were lost, and now they are talking about going to war with north korea. the military industrial complex, how much money have been wasted? you have ngo's. that is money that is being wasted that is not accountable. american people better wake up. what is happening now is evil. overthrowing governments, your ally killing people in yemen, those people are starving, and no one is saying anything about it. the american people should wake up. host: thank you. i wanted to jump to a tweet from didi, who talks about overseas meddling adventures. do we ever get reimbursed from our overseas adventures? guest: that is a broad question,
but we have arrangements with the number of allies, germany, england, where we have faces and -- basis or there's reimbursement of costs of having to the -- troops there. if you are referring to the iraq war and afghanistan war, some things they will pay for, but these are countries that are in rebuilding mode, and frankly did not call us up and ask for our assistance. it was our decision to go in there. we have heard a lot from president trump that we should have kept the oil in iraq were -- or we should be taking resources from afghanistan to pay for some of this. there's a host of international problems that erupt from that. point taken, these are expensive if you can't show clear national security improvement, you will have
plenty of citizens who worry we are just dumping money somewhere else. host: the senate passed the one of the debates that we did get to see -- one of the debates we got to see, the au impasse. >> authorization for use of military force. this has been an issue to combat isis. all of these wars are still operating under the same military force authorization. that were passed in host: here 2001-2002. is rand paul, senator from kentucky talking about this. [video clip] >> let's say we were to vote for my resolution, the authorization to go to war after 9/11 expires, do you think any of the wars will end? no. the neoliberal and neoconservative believe the president has unlimited authority to go to war. there is some authority given to the president, enormous authority to execute the war,
but not initiate the war. the sole duty to initiate the -- initiation of war was given to congress. if these authorities were to expire, the president already said i have all the authority i want under the constitution do do whatever i want. that is not what our founders wanted. madison if he were here were vehemently to disagree. wrote that the executive branch is a branch most prone for war, therefore the constitution, with such care that power in the legislature. it was supposed to be difficult to go to war. hands and sayor senate could never agree on any authorization to go to war. you know how long it took us after pearl harbor? 24 hours. how long it took us after 9/11? 3 days. we can come together as a body when we are attacked. after 16 years, it is difficult
to determine the purpose and -- in afghanistan. those who say we need a new authorization, but it's like to authorize war anywhere anytime with no geographic limits or time limit. they would be authorizing everything we are doing now, not putting any limitations on it. >> they took a vote. why not a straight up or down vote on aumf? >> that is as close as we will get because leadership stepped in. senator paul raise a lot of good points. this is something the senate and house has been stuck in for five years. president obama sent over was he thought was the basis for a new authorization of military force. we saw a philosophical divide on
capitol hill, republicans said this is too narrow this is an , enemy that is undefined. we need broader authority to go after them. democrats said this is to open. we need to make sure there are limits. we can that the president go around the world taking military action. there is still a real philosophical fight. in the absence, leadership has said if we cannot come close to a compromise, we don't want to weigh in on it. we don't want to send a message of confusion. what critics have argued is the opposite. you are sending a message by not being all in on this war if you don't weigh in. host: let's go to bobby. caller: good morning. how are you? i have a couple of thoughts to put in here. i am transgender, also a veteran who served in the military. i am curious.
how is everyone complaining about $4.8 million for transgender care, but they can spend more -- $40 million for cialis and viagra. be a disconnect, we are all worried about money, what is going on. guest: just to correct some of the numbers there, i think the pentagon has said the transgender services on an annual basis would be $8 million, and the military times had the story eight years ago -- a few years ago about the money spent on your account dysfunction drugs. i do believe it's those are $275 million a year. folks will say those are both valid medical issues to bring up. we have heard conservatives throw out numbers that are 15 to 20 times higher than the dod conversation.
there's a wide range of medical services for troops who are serving and their families. it is up for dod to decide which ones are valid. host: victor, colorado, hi there. are you there? one last chance. victor, are you there let's try dennis in south carolina. -- hot springs south dakota. caller: good morning. as far as i'm concerned i am a vietnam army veteran. i think senator paul is one of the smartest senators in the senate. he has more sense than a lot of them. the senate defeating his amendment to repeal the authorization of military force lobbyistss that the -- that our military-industrial
complex and aipac have more congressmen our than anything else. that's where the money comes from. i think we should change the name of the department of defense to the department of offense. host: thank you for calling. final thoughts? guest: there were 36 senators who voted for authorization of military force. there would have been more if the vote was to find a little differently. this would sunset over six months. this has been an issue that has dogged congress for five years. a lot of folks are advocating their responsibility on capitol hill. i would expect more fights on this in months to come. host: leo shane is capitol hill bureau chief with the military times. to read his works and the works of his colleagues thank you for , your time and be updated on the dod authorization bill.
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-- book tv. >> the senate returns monday at 3:00 p.m. eastern to finish work on the fiscal year 2018 defense authorization bill. final passage could come as early as monday evening, in a series of votes starting at 530 eastern. watch this live on c-span2. the house is not in session next week. when members return on september 25, they will take up faa reauthorization and chip, the children's health insurance program. spending for those programs expires at the end of the month. watch the house live here on c-span. c-span, the senate commerce, science and transportation committee looks at the future of autonomous vehicles. they talked about how federal regulators can promote innovation, competition, and safety in the development of self driving technologies. this hearing is to hours long -- two hours long.