Trump Signs McCain Defense Bill, Doesn't Mention McCain

Cheryl Sanders
August 14, 2018

Trump and McCain are engaged in a long-running feud that dates to Trump's 2016 presidential run.

Earlier Trump tweeted that he was "looking forward" to talking to America's "great heroes" and signing H.R. 515, the "John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for the Fiscal Year 2019".

The measure authorizes $7.6 billion for 77 new F-35 "stealth" Joint Strike Fighter jets built by Lockheed Martin, and $24.1 billion to fund the construction of 13 new battle force ships. "After years of devastating cuts, we're now rebuilding our military like we never have before".

President Trump says the National Defense Authorization Act is the "most significant investment" in the US military in modern history.

US President Donald Trump watched an air assault demonstration held at Fort Drum in NY, where US Air Force pilots exhibited mind-boggling stunts and showcased their military might.

Trump has lifted an earlier ban on US companies selling to ZTE, allowing China's second-largest telecommunications equipment maker to resume business and putting him at odds with both Republican and Democratic lawmakers.

Leaders of U.S. intelligence agencies have said they are concerned that ZTE, Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and some other Chinese companies are beholden to the Chinese government or Communist Party, raising the risk of espionage.

The law also bars the US from selling F-35 fighter jets to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member Turkey. "But if we ever did, nobody has a chance", he said. Mr. Trump, who has feuded with Mr. McCain for most of his presidency, didn't mention him during his remarks.

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.

"This year's NDAA represents an important opportunity to implement an effective approach to confront a growing array of threats", McCain said, adding that the administration's National Defense Strategy "outlined a framework for identifying and prioritizing these threats", with an emphasis on building readiness to deter China and Russian Federation. McCain, R-Ariz., whose name is on the bill, but has mostly been absent from Congress while undergoing treatment for brain cancer.

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