Week ahead: House digs into annual defense bill

Week ahead: House digs into annual defense bill
© C-SPAN

House lawmakers this week will begin to mark up the chamber's draft of the annual defense policy bill, with subcommittees set to convene Wednesday to start the process.

Markups for the House fiscal 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) begin with the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m., followed by the Tactical Air and Land Forces subpanel at 4 p.m.

Then on Thursday, the Readiness, Strategic Forces, Personnel and Seapower subcommittee will mark up its portions of the bill at 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., respectively.

The subcommittees are jumpstarting the arduous process of crafting the NDAA, which has already been delayed thanks in part to President Trump's transition into the White House and a late presidential budget, introduced in May.

The actions come a week after all four Senate and House defense panels heard from Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joe Dunford on what they want in the defense budget.

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Both leaders stressed that the Pentagon can use every dollar given to tackle a combat readiness issue caused by sequestration, and advocated for the items in the four military services' unfunded requirements lists.

Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, has repeatedly made it clear he wants a $640 billion NDAA – far above Trump's $603 billion base defense budget – but told reporters last week he's still undecided on the topline.

"We're still discussing because it's not just us, it's the appropriators and the budget, so we've been meeting with leadership trying to figure out the best way forward and talking with the Senate too," Thornberry told reporters following the Monday evening House committee hearing with Mattis and Dunford.

Though a topline of $640 million is not likely, lawmakers have indicated the number will be above Trump's $603 billion.

Rep. Kay GrangerNorvell (Kay) Kay GrangerSeven Texas lawmakers leaving Congress means a younger, more diverse delegation House passes .5 billion disaster relief package GOP lawmaker: No town halls because of threats against lawmakers MORE (R-Texas), chairwoman of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee said Thursday she expects to give the Pentagon more money than the administration's request.

"We're still trying to put things together with the Budget Committee," she said after Mattis and Dunford testified before her subcommittee. "It's just a very difficult year. I will keep fighting for the highest number I can."

Elements of the House bill expected to make an appearance include Thornberry's annual defense acquisition reform bill, unveiled in May, and a $2.1 billion bill for Asia-Pacific security. Thornberry has said he wants to fold both in the NDAA.

House Armed Service Committee ranking member Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), meanwhile, hopes to introduce a bill aimed at forcing the Trump administration to craft a comprehensive policy to deter Russian aggression -- either in the NDAA or through an amendment later.

The full-committee markup will come the following week on June 28.

The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for Patrick Shanahan, nominee to be deputy Defense secretary, at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Dirksen Senate Office Building, room G-50. http://bit.ly/2sj8lTa

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hear from outside experts on authorizations for the use of military force at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Dirksen 419. http://bit.ly/2siTB6X

A Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee will hold a hearing on the World Health Organization at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday at Dirksen 419. http://bit.ly/2siTVCt

A Senate Armed Services subcommittee will hear from Navy and Marine officials on shipbuilding programs at 9 a.m. Wednesday at the Russell Senate Office Building, room 232A. http://bit.ly/2tuSnEW

Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson will testify before the House Intelligence Committee for its Russia investigation at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the House Visitor Center, room 210. http://bit.ly/2sAsZkV

A House Foreign Affairs Committee subpanel will hold a hearing on the Egyptian and Tunisian Enterprise Funds at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Rayburn House Office Building, room 2172. http://bit.ly/2ryAY1J

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson and Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein will testify before the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee on the Air Force's fiscal 2018 budget request at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at Dirksen 192. http://bit.ly/2sAG7Xh

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will have a closed briefing on preparations for the 2017 trafficking in persons report at 11 a.m. Wednesday. http://bit.ly/2sAlhXS

Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin will testify before the Senate Appropriations military construction and veterans subcommittee on the VA's fiscal 2018 budget request at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at Dirksen 124. http://bit.ly/2sAGQrt

The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for Richard V. Spencer, nominee for Navy secretary, at 9:30 a.m. Thursday at Dirksen G-50. http://bit.ly/2sAoGWG

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will have a closed briefing on North Korea at 11 a.m. Thursday. http://bit.ly/2siMjQq

 

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