The House easily passed the final version of the $717 billion fiscal year 2019 defense policy bill Thursday.
Lawmakers voted 359-54 to approve the conference report of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) filed cloture on the legislation for a likely vote next week.
“This bill continues to reform the Pentagon to help speed up decision-making and get equipment to our warfighters faster,” Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said in a statement.
Thornberry and Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), HASC ranking member, and Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.), the top defense leadership in the Senate, led conference negotiations on the bills, which started July 11.
The conference report on the NDAA settled major differences between the two bills, including cutting the Air Force’s JSTARS fleet retirement program (Defense Daily, July 23), siding with the House’s plan to authorize three Littoral Combat Ships for the Navy (Defense Daily, July 24) and removing a Senate bill provision to reinstate tougher penalties on Chinese telecommunications company ZTE (Defense Daily, July 24).
The final version of the NDAA also halts transfers of the F-35 to Turkey pending a review of the Pentagon’s defense relationship with the country (Defense Daily, July 24), sets the course for DoD’s first cyber warfare policy and calls on the Pentagon to provider greater transparency on its massive cloud computing efforts (Defense Daily, July 25).
The House previously passed its FY ‘19 defense appropriations bill on June 28. The Senate appropriations committee approved its version on the same day and still has to bring the bill for a full floor vote (Defense Daily, June 28).
House lawmakers are now in recess until Sept. 4.