The House will debate the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 this week, likely beginning Wednesday, after lawmakers filed more than 300 amendments to the bill.
A total of 290 amendments were submitted by the 10 a.m. Monday deadline, with at least 25 submitted after the deadline passed and marked “late” early Monday afternoon before that designation was removed.
The House Rules Committee met Monday afternoon to decide the rules to begin debate on the bill, and it will meet again Tuesday afternoon to determine how many and which amendments will get a vote.
As expected, the amendments run the gamut of topics, from Base Realignment and Closure to authorization of use of force, and acquisition program changes to audit readiness–in many cases, with amendments filed on both sides of an issue.
Many dealt with the Defense Department’s ability to meet series of deadlines to be prepared for and carry out audits on the department’s statement of budgetary resources. One amendment, filed by Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), stipulates that if DoD has not completed a clean audit of its FY ’15 statement of budgetary resources by Dec. 31, 2015, then any future nominee for comptroller of DoD or the services would face additional job qualifications. Another by Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) would force the DoD to submit a report ordering all the services and defense agencies from most to least prepared for the audit. Rep. Pete DeFazio (D-Ore.) would slash the salaries of the chief management officers and comptrollers of DoD and the services if the FY ’17 full audit-readiness deadline is not met.
Several amendments sought to boost or cut acquisition of various programs. House Armed Services Committee member Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) proposed increasing funding for the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System by $99 million, taking $75 million out of the Army’s Aerial Common Sensor and $24 million from the Marine Corps’ RQ-21A Blackjack unmanned aerial system to pay for it.
Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) proposed cutting $120 million from the Abrams tank upgrade program, added by the HASC tactical air and land subcommittee as an industrial base protection program, and stipulate that the money be used as deficit reduction rather than to support any other military spending. Polis and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) submitted an amendment that would undo the HASC bill’s support for the refueling and complex overhaul of the USS George Washington (CVN-73), needed to maintain the 11-carrier fleet mandated by law. It would strike $486.3 million in funding and mandate that it, too, be used for deficit reduction. Neither proposal is likely to be adopted, with HASC overwhelmingly supporting both spending items.
Blumenauer submitted another amendment on his own to procure at least 10 Active Electronically Scanned Array radar systems for F-15C/D aircraft in the Air National Guard. He would take $100 million from life extension programs of various nuclear weapons and nuclear-related projects to pay for the AESA radars.
The Senate Armed Services Committee will begin marking up its NDAA this week, with subcommittee markups on Tuesday and Wednesday and the full committee markup set to begin Wednesday afternoon. Much of the proceedings are closed, and a committee staffer said none of the bill language would be made publicly available before the markup.