Pentagon Prepares For Potential Government Shutdown As Democrats Squabble Over Biden Agenda

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated Sunday on ABC’s This Week, “Let me just say, it’s been an exciting week.” President Joe Biden’s big-spending legislation and a must-pass measure enabling the government to pay its bills kick off a week of high-wire brinkmanship in Washington. The fiscal year ends in three days, and Congress must act to avert a debt default or a government shutdown.

The Senate will vote on a bill to keep the government funded and avoid a federal default. Senate Republicans are poised to oppose the vote, stating that if Democrats want to increase the debt ceiling, they must do so later this week. The fate of President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion “Build Back Better” program and a second $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package is in doubt.

‘We hope Congress avoids an expensive shutdown,’ said the Pentagon spokesman John Kirby. He said that they clearly will take seriously, as they always do, that they must continue to defend the nation, including ensuring that they have the skills, resources, and people in place to protect our national security interests. 

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is in New Jersey for a visit to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. He will examine Homeland Security’s screening and relocation operations for Afghan evacuees. According to the reporters, Kirby said he’d get to speak with soldiers and other departmental staff helping with this critical task. 

Top national security officials from the White House will go to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to “engage with senior leaders on various regional and global concerns.”

To keep the historic Cold War-era bomber flying until the 2050s, Rolls-Royce Cars will deliver new engines for 76 B-52-H bombers. The project will be finished by 2038, and if all options are exercised, the contract will be worth $2.6 billion. The company’s engine is already used by the US Air Force, powering the C-37 and E-11 BACN aircraft worldwide.

The French ambassador to the United States, Philippe Etienne, was summoned in protest over France’s proposed sale of diesel-powered submarines to Australia. “We should have had more consultations because we are allies, and allies behave differently if they are truly allies,” he added. When Etienne pointed out that in 2016, France undercut Japan, which had a “handshake” agreement with Australia, he reacted angrily.

The last of 17 B-1B Lancer bombers has been transported to the “boneyard” at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona. The announcement comes as the Air Force plans to retire its bomber arsenal favoring newer, stealthier planes. According to Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison, his administration was concerned that conventional submarines would no longer perform the task at hand.