Federal Relations

June 13, 2013

House Begins Work on National Defense Authorization Bill

The House will begin its work on the HR 1960, the National Defense Authorization Bill (NDAA) today. Consideration of the measure is expected to go through tomorrow. The NDAA is the yearly authorization bill that determines military priorities for agencies responsible for our national defense. The legislation establishes funding levels, and sets the policies under which money will be spent.

The bill authorizes $638.4 billion for the Pentagon and defense-related programs for FY 2014, including $85.8 billion for the war in Afghanistan and other overseas contingency activities. The bill’s authorization for regular defense funding is roughly equal to the president’s request but about $50 billion more than the projected post-sequestration cap for defense pursuant to the 2011 Budget Control Act. It authorizes $8 billion for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and requires the development of a new missile-defense site on the East Coast that the Pentagon does not want. It also bars the use of funds for planning any future rounds of military base closings, authorizes funds for new construction at the Guantánamo Bay detention center that the president wants to close and establishes new procedures to combat sexual assault in the military.

On June 11th, the White House issued a veto threat of the measure as it was currently written. The House Armed Services Committee passed the legislation on June 5th.

The House Rules Committee has approved a structured rule on Wednesday, which limits the amount of amendments that can be considered during the Floor debate. There will be 172 amendments (70 Republican, 68 Democratic, and 38 bipartisan) considered for 10 minutes each. Nearly 300 amendments were submitted to the House Rules committee to be offered during the Floor debate. The rule makes in order a number of amendments which address controversial proposals, ranging from the Guantánamo Bay detention center to overall spending levels that dramatically exceed the caps set by sequestration.

The House will begin consideration at noon today. Rep. Adam Smith (WA) is the Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee and will manage the bill for the Democrats.

The Office of Federal Relations will continue to monitor the progress of the bill.