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John McCain Elder Statesman Fierce Defense Hawk

first_imgSen. John McCain, one of the few lawmakers who often commanded more authority on national security issues than the president, died Saturday at the age of 81 after battling brain cancer for the past year. Over three decades in the Senate he became one of the Republicans’ most reliable champions for the military, with his chairmanship of the Armed Services Committee the highlight of his congressional career.“In the committee’s work, I have found high purpose in the service of a cause greater than self — the cause of the women and men in uniform who defend America and all she stands for,” McCain said earlier this month when the Senate approved the conference report to the fiscal 2019 defense authorization bill.One of McCain’s most recent victories in Congress was the effort he led last year with his counterpart, House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), to boost base defense spending for FY 2018 to $640 billion, $54 billion above the statutory spending cap, reported CQ. The campaign came to fruition this past February when lawmakers reached a two-year, bipartisan budget deal to raise defense spending above $700 billion in both FY 2018 and 2019, after adding in the war funding account.For a detailed account of McCain’s military and political career, read the obituary in the Washington Post.Photo by Sgt. James McCann Dan Cohen AUTHORlast_img read more