It’s Wednesday, welcome to Overnight Defense & National Security, your nighttime guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, Capitol Hill and beyond. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-inscription.
Current and former Pentagon leaders have a message for Congress: do not default on the debt limit or the national security of the United States is in danger.
We’ll break down their message to Congress, what’s at stake and where negotiations are at in Congress.
For The Hill, I’m Ellen Mitchell. Write to me with advice: [email protected].
Austin, former defense secretaries send message to lawmakers
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, along with seven former Pentagon chiefs, Wednesday warned Congress that default would harm U.S. national security and military families.
“If the United States defaults, it would undermine the economic strength upon which our national security is built,” Austin said in a statement. “It would also seriously harm our military and their families because, as secretary, I would have no authority or ability to guarantee that our military, civilian or contractors would be paid in full or on time.”
Another effort: In a separate letter sent to Congress on Wednesday, six former defense secretaries make the same plea, imploring lawmakers “to work together to increase the legal debt limit and avoid catastrophic consequences for the Department of Defense, our families military personnel and our leadership position. in the world.”
Former Vice President Dick Cheney, William Perry, William Cohen, Leon Panetta, Chuck hagelCharles (Chuck) Timothy Hagel Afghan interpreter who helped save Biden: “If they find me, they’ll kill me” Afghan interpreter who helped extract Biden, other senators in 2008 call on president to save him Democrats defend Afghan withdrawal amid the advance of the Taliban MORE, Aston Carter and James mattisJames Norman Mattis Leaving the military out of our polarized politics Former Defense Secretary Mattis testifies in Theranos CEO trial 20 years after September 11, we have had successes but the fight continues MORE signed the letter.
What is the problem?: United States hits federal borrowing limit in July, with Treasury Secretary Janet YellenJanet Louise Yellen On The Money – Presented By NRHC – Democrats Break Rubicon Debt Ceiling Democrats Insist They Will Not Back Down on Debt Ceiling Schumer Warns October Vacation in Danger for the fight against the debt ceiling PLUS warning executives that they must increase it by Oct. 18 or risk a historic default.
Republicans have vowed not to provide votes to raise the debt ceiling, leaving Senate Democrats to scramble to craft a back-up plan.
Although the debt limit covers expenses that Congress has already approved, Austin cites several risks of default, including the risk of benefits “earned and owed to 2.4 million military retirees and 400,000 survivors.” .
Other risks: In addition, “Federal contractors, including large corporations and thousands of small businesses, who provide our military with world-class services, technology and equipment could see their payments delayed, jeopardizing their operations and many jobs. Americans. “
Austin also said a default “risks undermining the United States’ international reputation as a reliable and trustworthy economic and national security partner,” as well as “the stature of the US dollar as a global reserve currency. of choice”.
A reputation in danger?: Former officials, meanwhile, also argue that a default will send a signal to allies and adversaries “that America is breaking its word with our military.” We can hardly think of a more damaging message in a time of global instability and increasing competition from the great powers. ”
“It would be tragic to allow partisanship to deprive now of these essential resources essential to the protection of our national security,” they add.
Read the full story here.
THE SENATE TAKES ATTACK TO AVOID THE DEFT CRISIS
Even with all the warnings, the Senate appears poised to avoid debt ceiling crisis on its own after Democrats said they could accept a surprise offer from Senate Minority Leader Mitch mcconnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnell On The Money – Presented By NRHC – Democrats Break Rubicon Debt Ceiling Democrats Insist They Will Not Back Down on Debt Ceiling (R-Ky.) To raise the debt ceiling for two months.
McConnell made the offer shortly before the Senate was ready to hold another vote on extending the country’s borrowing limit just over a week before a possible default. Republicans were to reject the measure.
The vote was quickly called off after Democrats walked out of a meeting saying they could accept McConnell’s offer.
A provisional victory: “In terms of temporarily lifting the debt ceiling, we see this as a victory, a temporary victory with more work to be done,” said the senator. Tammy baldwinTammy Suzanne Baldwin Senate Democrats reduce tension Manchin Biden avoids GOP over judicial vacancies, Democrats now face ‘Rubik’s cube on steroids’ MORE (D-Wis.) Told CNN Jake tapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperGottheimer: “No Reason” Democrats Should Not Pass Infrastructure Bill Immediately CONTINUED After the meeting.
A key GOP centrist, the senator. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiDemocrats Scramble To Find Strategy To Avoid Default Do Progressives Prefer Trump’s Compromise? This week: Democrats reach decisive moment for Biden MORE (Alaska), also adopted the proposal, saying it “will give us a way out of the woods, that’s what we want.”
Read more about it here.
NATO expels 8 “undeclared” intelligence officers from Russian delegation
NATO Wednesday expelled eight “undeclared” Russian intelligence officers from the country’s mission to the military alliance.
Other cutsIn addition, the alliance has halved the size of the Moscow team authorized to work at NATO headquarters in Brussels from 20 to 10, a NATO official confirmed to The Hill.
“We can confirm that we have withdrawn the accreditation of eight members of the Russian mission to NATO, who were undeclared Russian intelligence officers,” the official said.
“We can also confirm that we have reduced the number of positions that the Russian Federation can accredit to NATO to 10.”
Rising tensions: NATO-Russia relations have been strained since 2014, when Moscow annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine.
Since then, Russian military exercises near its borders with other European countries; cyber espionage and suspected attacks; development of nuclear missiles; and military flights in NATO airspace and in the vicinity of Allied ships, have increasingly strained its ties with the alliance.
“NATO’s policy towards Russia remains consistent. We have stepped up our deterrence and defense in response to Russia’s aggressive actions, while remaining open to constructive dialogue, ”the official said.
The Russian threat: In response to this action, senior Russian politician Leonid Slutsky told Interfax news agency that Moscow could retaliate with “asymmetric” measures.
Read the full story here.
Navy sailor who dies of COVID-19
A Navy sailor who died of coronavirus complications earlier this week was identified as 1st Class Aviation Electrician (Mechanical) Bridge Officer Cory Weber.
Weber, 51, died at Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas on Sunday after testing positive for COVID-19 on September 17 and hospitalized on September 20, the Navy said in a statement Wednesday.
He had been assigned to the Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Command in Fallon, Nevada.
Deadlines and dateThe statement did not say whether Weber had received any COVID-19 vaccines, which active-duty sailors in the Navy must have done in full by November 28. Reserve sailors, meanwhile, have until December 28.
Almost 90 percent of active-duty seafarers are fully immunized, while 68 percent of reserve seafarers are fully immunized.
As of Wednesday, 246,720 cases of coronavirus were reported among the military and 62 died from the virus, according to Pentagon data.
Read the full story here.
IN THE PRESS FOR TOMORROW
WHAT WE READ
That’s all for today. Check out The Hill’s Defense and National Security pages for the latest coverage. On Thursday.