The Senate Armed Services Committee thinks its version of the annual policy-shaping National Defense Authorization Act could pass the upper chamber before the Fourth of July holiday, a Committee aide confirmed Monday afternoon.
Politico reported Monday that the GOP-controlled Committee planned to mark up its version of the bill the week of June 8. Unlike the House, which marks up its version of the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in a marathon open markup, the Senate typically speeds through the process behind closed doors.
The NDAA sets policy and spending limits for defense programs, including nuclear weapons programs managed outside the Pentagon in the civilian Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).
The House Armed Services Committee still had not scheduled the full Committee markup of its version of the NDAA, at deadline Monday. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), the Committee’s chair, once hoped to have at least the pre-mark language finished this month.
“The legislative language for the FY21 NDAA will be made public when the subcommittee and Chairman’s marks are released,” a Committee spokesperson wrote in an email Monday. “Mark up hearings will be scheduled once we receive a floor date from House Leadership.”
Last week, Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, said that any financial aid to help the defense industry mitigate the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic response should be in addition to funds appropriated in the 2021 NDAA: a position that may put him at odds with Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), the chair of the Committee.
Thornberry favors maxing out the 2021 NDAA to $740 billion: the level approved by Congress and the White House last year in a bipartisan budget agreement that did away with the final two years of sequestration cuts from 2011.
In first-quarter earnings reports filed this month, major defense contractors such as Huntington Ingalls Industries [HII] and Jacobs [J], have said that existing COVID-19 bailout money, and the Pentagon’s policy of reimbursing contractors for pandemic-response costs, might not offset every expense associated with the viral disease, going forward.