House negotiators named for defense bill

Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerCoronavirus poses risks for Trump in 2020 Lobbying world Pelosi-Trump relationship takes turn for the terrible MORE (Ohio) on Thursday selected 18 of his fellow Republicans to represent the chamber in coming talks over the annual defense policy bill. 

“The House passed a strong defense bill that promises the pay raise and benefits our troops have earned and provides the tools, resources, and authorities they need to keep America safe,” BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerCoronavirus poses risks for Trump in 2020 Lobbying world Pelosi-Trump relationship takes turn for the terrible MORE said in a statement.

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He ripped Democrats who supported the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) when it was marked up by the House Armed Services Committee but “withdrew their support to extract more government spending on bureaucracies like the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] and the IRS.”

Democratic leaders also made their picks for the talks.

Selecting negotiators to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the massive $612 billion authorization bill was held up slightly after the Senate Armed Services Committee received a “blue slip” warning that some of its provisions aimed at revamping military retirement benefits fell under the purview of the Senate Finance Committee.

That issue was resolved on the Senate floor Thursday morning, when lawmakers agreed by unanimous consent to reconfigure part of the Senate's NDAA.

The House conferees will be led by Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), who was named the chairman of the overall negotiations during a ceremonial “pass the gavel” ceremony.

The two defense bills contain major differences on the fate of the U.S. detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and Pentagon acquisition reform.

“We’re going to work hard to resolve issues and try to get them done mid-July, or at least in time before the August break,” Thornberry told reporters before the close-door ceremony.

Both bills have earned a veto threat from the White House because they include a roughly $38 billion boost to the Pentagon’s war fund, allowing the department to skirt budget caps put in place by the 2011 Budget Control Act.

“I hope the President will think long and hard about his threat to veto the NDAA at a time when he is sending troops into harms way,” Thornberry said in a statement.

Other Republican conferees include Reps. Randy ForbesJames (Randy) Randy ForbesToo much ‘can do,’ not enough candor Trump makes little headway filling out Pentagon jobs Why there's only one choice for Trump's Navy secretary MORE (Va.), Jeff Miller (Fla.), Joe WilsonAddison (Joe) Graves WilsonSchumer reminds colleagues to respect decorum at State of the Union speech US officials, world leaders arrive in Israel for World Holocaust Forum  Valerie Plame: 'I'm alarmed' over escalation with Iran MORE (S.C.), Frank LoBiondo (N.J.), Rob BishopRobert (Rob) William BishopWhere do we go from here? Conservation can show the way Overnight Energy: Panel gives chairman power to subpoena Interior | House passes bill to protect wilderness | House Republicans propose carbon capture bill | Ocasio-Cortez introduces bill to ban fracking House Natural Resources gives Grijalva power to subpoena Interior MORE (Utah), Michael Turner (Ohio), John Kline (Minn.), Mike Rogers (Ala.), Bill Shuster (Pa.), Mike Conaway (Texas), Doug Lamborn (Colo.), Rob WittmanRobert (Rob) Joseph WittmanRepublicans eye top spot on Natural Resources panel The Suburban Caucus: Solutions for America's suburbs Overnight Defense: Top general briefs GOP senators on Syria plan | Senators 'encouraged' by briefing | Pence huddles with Republican allies on Syria | Trump nominee sidesteps questions on arms treaties MORE (Va.), Duncan Hunter (Calif.), Vicky Hartzler (Mo.), Joe Heck (Nev.), Brad Wenstrup (Ohio) and Elise Stefanik (N.Y.).

The Democratic conferees are Armed Services ranking member Adam SmithDavid (Adam) Adam SmithOvernight Defense: Dem senator met with Iranian foreign minister | Meeting draws criticism from right | Lawmakers push back at Pentagon funding for wall Lawmakers push back at Trump's Pentagon funding grab for wall Top Armed Services Republican: Pentagon using .8B on border wall 'requires Congress to take action' MORE (Wash.), Loretta Sanchez (Calif.), Susan Davis (Calif.), James Langevin (R.I.), Rick LarsenRichard (Rick) Ray LarsenAviation chairmen cite safety, new tech among concerns for the future The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Better Medicare Alliance - Diplomat's 'powerful' testimony and 'lynching' attract headlines The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Better Medicare Alliance - Trump's impeachment plea to Republicans MORE (Wash.), Jim Cooper (Tenn.), Joe Courtney (Conn.), Niki Tsongas (Mass.), John GaramendiJohn Raymond GaramendiPeace Corps' sudden decision to leave China stirs blowback LA Mayor Eric Garcetti endorses Biden Impeachment battle lines harden ahead of pivotal week MORE (Calif.), Hank Johnson (Ga.), Jackie Speier (Calif.), Joaquin Castro (Texas), Tammy Duckworth (Ill.) and Del. Madeleine BordalloMadeleine Mary BordalloThis week: Lawmakers return to mourn George H.W. Bush Guam New Members 2019 Overnight Defense: VA pick breezes through confirmation hearing | House votes to move on defense bill negotiations | Senate bill would set 'stringent' oversight on North Korea talks MORE (Guam).

The Senate will likely name its conferees after the July 4 break.

— This story was last updated at 5:23 p.m.