Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) this week indicated he would allow civilian nominations to the Defense Department to advance to the chamber floor as soon as President Obama signs the reworked version of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill into law.“We want the NDAA signed,” McCain said, reported Politico. “Then, we’ll look at the whole situation.” McCain has been sitting on more than a dozen civilian nominees, refusing to schedule confirmation hearings.On Thursday, the House easily approved the revised fiscal 2016 authorization bill, 370 to 58. The Senate is scheduled to take up the measure next Tuesday. The amended version authorizes $5 billion less in funding than the original, after last week’s budget agreement called for $33 billion in defense spending above the Budget Control Act cap for FY 2016, an increase that didn’t quite meet the $38 billion in extra funds Congress and the administration had planned for.Earlier this week, the House and Senate Armed Services committees and defense appropriators agreed on cuts to reduce the topline funding level in the authorization bill by $5 billion.McCain has been slowing the advance of civilian nominations through his committee since he became chairman at the beginning of the year. There currently are 13 civilian nominations for DOD posts pending in his committee, including Eric Fanning to be secretary of the Army and John Conger to be the principal deputy to the Pentagon comptroller.Initially McCain said the suspension of hearings and votes on civilian nominations was payback for Democrats changing Senate rules while they were still in the majority to allow for simple majority votes to end debate on nominees. But more recently his rationale focused on Obama’s threat to veto the conference report for the defense authorization bill over its reliance on DOD’s war account to evade the statutory spending caps.Even if McCain allows civilian nominees to advance to the full Senate for confirmation, individual senators still could place holds on their nominations, the story noted. Dan Cohen AUTHOR
Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal. File PhotoHome minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal on Saturday said there is no specific security threat centering this year’s Pahela Baishakh celebration programme, reports UNB.“There is no specific threat. Besides, detectives’ surveillance is on. No one will be able to create any obstruction in the celebration programme,” he said while talking to reporters after visiting DMP’s security arrangements at Ramna Park.He said Pahela Baishakh has now become a national progamme and law enforcers have been kept ready across the country so that people can celebrate Pahela Baishakh smoothly.Cyber decurity team is also monitoring social media sites so that no one can spread provocative messages, said the minister.