What a Democrat-controlled House means for Trump's national security priorities

  • Lawmakers are bracing for significant changes on the House panel that oversees national security, and by extension, the fiscal 2020 defense budget.
  • With Democrats projected to take the House, Washington state Rep. Adam Smith will likely take the gavel of the House Armed Services Committee.
  • Smith has been critical of President Donald Trump's move to place active-duty troops on the U.S.-Mexico border, skeptical of the creation of a Space Force, and a potential U.S. withdrawal from a nuclear weapons treaty with Russia.
American flags stand ready below the dome of the U.S. Capitol on the West Front.
Scott J. Ferrell | Congressional Quarterly | Getty Images
American flags stand ready below the dome of the U.S. Capitol on the West Front.

Democrats are projected to take back the House, and that could spell trouble for the Trump administration's national security and foreign policy measures.

Lawmakers are bracing for significant changes on the House panel that oversees national security, and by extension, the fiscal 2020 defense budget. Democrats have called for greater scrutiny of the Pentagon's colossal spending and more transparency in regards to global military operations.

The likely next leader of the House Armed Services Committee, Washington Rep. Adam Smith, has been one of the biggest critics of the Trump administration's national security policies, actions and priorities.

Smith has been critical of President Donald Trump's move to place active-duty troops on the U.S.-Mexico border, skeptical of the creation of a Space Force, and a potential U.S. withdrawal from a nuclear weapons treaty with Russia.

Smith won his race against Democrat Sarah Smith, a 30-year-old first-time candidate, to represent Washington's central Puget Sound district as expected. His opponent, a democratic socialist and activist, has been critical of the defense industrial base and military affairs.

House Armed Services Committee ranking member Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) questions witnesses during a hearing in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill April 12, 2018 in Washington, DC. 
Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images
House Armed Services Committee ranking member Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) questions witnesses during a hearing in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill April 12, 2018 in Washington, DC. 

What's more, Republicans lost two current House Armed Services Committee members.

Marine Corps veteran and Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman lost his seat to Army veteran and first-time candidate Jason Crow. Coffman held key posts on both the House Armed Services and House Veterans' Affairs Committee.

Oklahoma Rep. Steve Russell, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, also lost his re-election bid.