House Democrats have sought to use President Donald Trump’s Space Force as leverage in a fight over his border wall during negotiations with Senate Republicans on the annual defense policy bill, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said, The Hill reported.
“Space Force is the thing that they think the president wants the most, therefore, they can say, use that as leverage,” Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-Okla.) told The Hill on Wednesday. “But it hasn’t worked.”
A House Armed Services Committee staffer responded by telling The Hill they “won’t pretend to know what he means by ‘leveraging Space Force’.”
“Both bills had provisions for a Space Force, and we know the administration has been vocal about the necessity for Space Force, so it’s no secret that leadership has been working through the conference process to arrive at a point where a Space Force could be a reality,” the staffer said.
Still, the staffer added, “the Space Force is something the Democratic Caucus views as poor use of resources, which is why it hasn’t been something automatically accepted by both chambers.”
Bicameral negotiations over the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) have struggled to come to a compromise, with Inhofe and House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) largely blaming issues related to the border wall.
“The sticking point is, and will continue to be, how to handle funding related to the wall,” the House Armed Services staffer said. Negotiations have also mostly paused this week, with the House in recess and Smith leading a congressional delegation in the Middle East.