The Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) has reached agreement on its version of the fiscal year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and moved the bill out of committee by a vote of 25-2.
SASC members Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) were the sole “no” votes on the bill. If approved, the SASC’s version of the NDAA would support $740.5 billion for the Defense Department’s FY ’21 budget, including $69 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations, adhering to funding limits set by Congress last year. Nearly $26 billion is dedicated to national security-related efforts in the Department of Energy.
SASC Chairman Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Ranking Member Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) lauded the committee’s bipartisan effort to complete the 60th National Defense Authorization Act in a Thursday media call.
“I am thankful we continued our bipartisan tradition by working across the aisle as a committee to authorize full funding for the military for another year,” Inhofe said. “I look forward to the NDAA’s swift consideration by the full Senate.”
Among the larger ticket items, the bill includes $9.1 billion to procure 95 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters built by Lockheed Martin [LMT] in one of the bill’s more significant increases over the Pentagon’s budget request released in February. That request included 79 F-35s.
For shipbuilding, the committee authorized over $21 billion for seven new warships, and authorized two new Columbia-class submarines.
The bill also directs the establishment of a Space Force reserve component, but opts to delay forming a Space National Guard until a study is completed. The FY ’20 NDAA requested a report on the potential role of a Space National Guard, but that report was not received by the time SASC began the bill markup, a committee aide told reporters Thursday.
The committee considered 391 amendments and adopted 229 of them. A committee aide said SASC could submit the bill for a vote on the Senate floor by next week, although the timeline remains fluid. The House Armed Services Committee is scheduled to begin subcommittee markups for its version of the NDAA June 22-23, with full committee markup scheduled for July 1.