As the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) releases its full committee mark for the fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), it intends to bring the bill to the House floor just after the July 4th holiday, committee staffers said June 7.
The HASC Chairman’s mark was released June 7 and lines up fairly close to the House Appropriations Committee’s defense spending bill for a total of $733 billion, which was passed by the full committee May 21 (Defense Daily, May 21). The mark includes a topline of $724.9 billion, to include $69 billion in overseas contingency operations (OCO) funding. It does not include $8.2 billion in national defense authorizations that are outside of the committee’s jurisdiction, and which would bring the full amount up to $733 billion.
The mark includes just under $633 billion in discretionary base funding for the Department of Defense, and $22.6 billion for defense-related efforts within the Department of Energy.
The House Armed Services Committee will mark up the Chairman’s proposal June 12, and extended discussions are expected to occur, particularly on President Trump’s proposal to stand up a new Space Force, on providing funding for border wall construction along the U.S.-Mexico border, and to address proposals targeting transgender servicemembers.
A senior committee staffer told reporters Friday that HASC wants to put the NDAA on the House floor for consideration the week of July 7.
The staffer noted that having the committee mark up the NDAA after the House Appropriations Committee has already passed its spending bill is “kind of uncomfortable for us” and “backwards” from the normal process of HASC drawing up its authorization bill first, then HAC marking to its topline.
House senior leaders, including House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), wanted to take the appropriations bills to the House floor in June, the staffer added. The defense spending bill is expected to be considered on the floor June 12.
“We couldn’t get done fast enough, because of the six-week delay in the president’s budget,” the staffer said. The FY ’20 Presidential Budget Request was released March 12, when it was originally targeted for early February.
The staffer added that HASC did not hold completely to the funding numbers included in the HAC defense bill, but the two committees worked closely together as the appropriations bill was crafted. The differences, the staffer noted, will be consolidated as the House and Senate begin work on the conference bill.
“We tried to work with them on what the pluses and cuts would be, and then we still disagree with them on some of the things they’ve done,” the staffer said. “But it is what it is and we are where we are.”
The Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) passed its mark of the FY ’20 NDAA on May 22, including a $750 billion topline (Defense Daily, May 23). The Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee has not yet scheduled markups.