The House Armed Services Committee’s (HASC) annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) markup will be delayed as the United States issues more guidelines to counter the COVID-19 pandemic.
HASC Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) said March 30 that the committee has postponed the FY ’21 NDAA markup, originally scheduled for April 30.
The postponement follows President Trump’s announcement Sunday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was extending social distancing measures from an initial 15-day recommendation to 30 days.
Smith called the Trump administration’s extension of the initial 15-day period “a prudent, necessary step.”
“Given the new 30-day extension of the Administration’s guidance, the Committee has postponed the previously scheduled markup of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021,” Smith said. “A new markup date will be announced at a later time.”
The Senate Armed Services Committee had been planning to schedule a markup before Memorial Day and is still working toward that date, said Marta Hernandez, committee spokesperson on Monday. Hernandez noted that the situation remains fluid and the committee will respect guidance issued from the CDC, Office of Attending Physician and from the Senate Majority Leader’s office.
The HASC committee announced late last week that Smith and Ranking Member Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) had introduced H.R. 6395, the “by request” version of the FY ’21 NDAA bill and the traditional first step in the legislative process for the annual defense authorization bill.
“The legislation filed this week does not reflect substantive work by the Armed Services Committee. Rather, provisions contained in the bill reflect legislative proposals submitted by the Department of Defense,” the committee said in a March 27 statement. “When the Committee meets to consider the FY21 NDAA, the content of H.R. 6395 will be struck and replaced with subcommittee and full committee proposals.”
Access to Capitol Hill has been limited to members, staffers, credentialed press and “official business visitors,” the House and Senate sergeants at arms said in a March 30 statement. The temporary restrictions will continue through May 1.
Additionally, the governors of Virginia and Maryland each issued “shelter-in-place” orders for non-essential personnel, with Virginia’s order extending through June 10 unless otherwise amended or rescinded.