The House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee approved its contributions to the fiscal year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act Wednesday, kicking up to the full committee a package of reforms for the Nuclear Weapons Council and an order to study modernization of the Pantex Plant, among other things.

The subcommittee completed its markup without debate and without amendments, which in recent years has been the usual order of business. Big debates over nuclear weapons policy, including how much to spend or whether to cancel the nuclear Sea Launched Cruise Missile (SLCM-N) and cease maintenance of the B83 megaton-class gravity bomb, will wait for the full Armed Services Committee markup scheduled for June 22.

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is the annual bill that sets funding limits and policy for defense programs, including those at the Department of Energy. The strategic forces subcommittee’s part of the bill this year prescribes changes to the Nuclear Weapons Council, consolidating some of the reports the group has to deliver to Congress each year about the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) budget and pushing the Pentagon to consider how the military’s demands may produce cost and schedule overruns at the NNSA.

NNSA is the semiautonomous Department of Energy agency in charge of nuclear warheads and bombs.

Separately, the subcommittee’s portion of the NDAA also orders the NNSA to start considering how its Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas, could be “modernized.” Pantex, the central service center for U.S. nuclear weapons, was the only one of the agency’s seven major labs, plans or sites to get such a callout in the strategic forces bill text posted online earlier this week.

Committee staff said during a press briefing on Tuesday that Pantex was singled out because of a concern from a member of Congress. First-termer Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas) has represented Texas’ 13th district and Amarillo since the former Armed Services Chair Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) retired after bowing out of the 2020 elections.

If the subcommittee’s bill language becomes law, NNSA will by April 1 2023 have to turn in to a Congress a report on its “plan to modernize the Pantex Plant,” including “a description of which facilities and infrastructure at the Pantex Plant need to be modernized; options for modernizing the facilities and infrastructure at the Pantex Plant, including an option or options for accelerated modernization over the Future Years Nuclear Security Program” and cost estimates for the possible improvements.

Meanwhile, Wednesday’s subcommittee markup was expected to be the last presided over by Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) who is leaving Congress after the Tennessee state legislature redrew the state’s congressional districts, splitting the fifth congressional district, and the city of Nashville, three ways. Cooper has represented the district and the city since 2003 and also served in Congress from 1983 to 1995, representing what was then the state’s fourth congressional district.

Cooper calculated that he would not win reelection with Nashville absorbed by adjacent, Republican-heavy districts.