Trump Signs Bill Named for Sen. McCain, Doesn't Mention Him - NBC 7 San Diego
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Trump Signs Bill Named for Sen. McCain, Doesn't Mention Him

The bill weakens a bid to clamp down on Chinese telecom company ZTE

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    Hans Pennink/AP
    President Donald Trump holds up the $716 billion defense policy bill named for Sen. John McCain that he signed during a ceremony, Aug. 13, 2018, in Fort Drum, N.Y.

    What to Know

    • The bill provides no money for Trump's requested Space Force but authorizes the military parade he wants in Washington in November.

    • Besides setting policy and spending levels, the bill weakens a bid to clamp down on Chinese telecom company ZTE.

    • It allows Trump to waive sanctions against countries that bought Russian weapons and now want to buy U.S. military equipment.

    President Donald Trump on Monday signed a $716 billion defense policy bill named for John McCain but included no mention in his remarks of the Republican senator, who is battling brain cancer at home in Arizona.

    Trump and McCain are engaged in a long-running feud that dates to Trump's 2016 presidential run. At campaign rallies, Trump regularly castigates McCain — without using his name — for casting a dramatic thumbs-down vote that doomed Trump's effort last year to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which was enacted by President Barack Obama.

    Trump said there was "no better place than right here at Fort Drum" to celebrate passage of the defense bill, which will boost military pay by 2.6 percent, giving service members their largest increase in nine years.

    The bill — formally the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act but referred to by Trump as simply the National Defense Authorization Act — will introduce thousands of new recruits to active duty, reserve and National Guard units and replace aging tanks, planes, ships and helicopters with more advanced and lethal technology, Trump said.

    Still No Apology for McCain From Trump Administration

    [NATL] Still No Apology for McCain From Trump Administration

    President Donald Trump met with his fellow Republicans to talk domestic policy Tuesday, while the question of whether the president owes Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., an apology loomed over the meeting. Last week a White House aide reportedly mocked McCain's fight with brain cancer.

    (Published Wednesday, May 16, 2018)

    "Hopefully, we'll be so strong we'll never have to use it. But if we ever did, nobody has a chance," he said.

    Later Monday, Trump referenced McCain — again without naming him — while talking about Obama's health law at a fundraiser in Utica for Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney.

    "I would've gotten rid of everything, but as you know, one of our wonderful senators had thumbs down at 2 o'clock in the morning," Trump said, pantomiming the gesture.

    The bill authorizes billions of dollars for military construction, including family housing.

    Besides setting policy and spending levels, the bill weakens a bid to clamp down on Chinese telecom company ZTE. It allows Trump to waive sanctions against countries that bought Russian weapons and now want to buy U.S. military equipment. The bill provides no money for Trump's requested Space Force but authorizes the military parade he wants in Washington in November.

    The compromise bill removes a provision reinstating penalties against ZTE and restricting the company's ability to buy U.S. component parts. ZTE was almost forced out of business after being accused of selling sensitive information to nations hostile to the U.S., namely Iran and North Korea, in violation of trade laws.

    Raw: Gasps as McCain Goes Thumbs Down on Health Bill

    [NATL] Raw: Gasps as McCain Goes Thumbs Down on Health Bill

    Lawmakers took to the Senate floor overnight Thursday to vote on the latest GOP health care overhaul measure, just hours after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released the bill's text. The Health Care Freedom Act, called the "skinny repeal," failed to pass in a 49-51 vote, which included "no" votes from Republican Sens. John McCain, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins.

    (Published Friday, July 28, 2017)

    The measure also includes provisions designed to improve how the Defense Department handles reports of child-on-child sexual assaults among the tens of thousands of children and teens who live and go to school on the military bases where their parents serve. An Associated Press investigation this spring documented broad failures of justice when military kids report incidents.

    Among the changes, the bill creates new legal protections for students at Department of Defense Education Activity schools and requires the school system and the Pentagon to develop new policies for responding to reports on bases more generally. Schools and the armed services also must start tracking incidents — AP identified nearly 700 over 10 years, but that was a certain undercount.

    The annual measure sets policies and a budget outline for the Pentagon and will be followed by a later appropriations bill.

    Trump and McCain have had a strained relationship for years. During his election campaign, Trump declared that McCain, who was a prisoner of war for more than five years in Vietnam, was not a war hero, and he has publicly and privately blamed McCain for submarining the Republican health care bill last year.

    In May, a West Wing aide dismissed McCain's negative opinion on Trump's CIA nominee during a closed-door meeting by saying of the senator that "he's dying anyway." Trump, who has long prided himself on never apologizing, believing it shows weakness, did not apologize, but the aide was later fired.

    In a statement Monday, McCain expressed pride in the bill.

    Senator McCain Diagnosed with Brain Cancer

    [NATL] Senator John McCain Diagnosed with Brain Cancer

    After doctors removed a blood clot from above Sen. John McCain's left eye on Friday, the Mayo Clinic released a statement addressing that the procedure revealed a brain tumor.

    (Published Thursday, July 20, 2017)

    "I'm proud the NDAA is now law & humbled Congress chose to designate it in my name. As Chairman of the Armed Services Cmte, I've found high purpose in service of a cause greater than self_the cause of our troops who defend America & all that she stands for," he tweeted.

    His wife, Cindy McCain, meanwhile, retweeted a post from CBS News that noted Trump had neglected to mention McCain at the signing.