House negotiators named for defense bill

Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerBlue wave poses governing risks for Dems Nancy Pelosi: Will she remain the ‘Face of the Franchise’? Jordan hits campaign trail amid bid for Speaker 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 BoehnerBlue wave poses governing risks for Dems Nancy Pelosi: Will she remain the ‘Face of the Franchise’? Jordan hits campaign trail amid bid for Speaker 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 WilsonTrump calls North Carolina redistricting ruling ‘unfair’ Sacha Baron Cohen mulls arming toddlers with guns in inaugural episode Why civility in politics won't be getting any better MORE (S.C.), Frank LoBiondo (N.J.), Rob BishopRobert (Rob) William BishopOne year later: Puerto Rico battles with bureaucracy after Maria Land and Water Conservation Fund is good for business Trump administration weakens methane pollution standards for drilling on public lands MORE (Utah), Michael Turner (Ohio), John Kline (Minn.), Mike Rogers (Ala.), Bill Shuster (Pa.), Mike Conaway (Texas), Doug Lamborn (Colo.), Rob WittmanRobert (Rob) Joseph WittmanVirginia reps urge Trump to declare federal emergency ahead of Hurricane Florence Overnight Defense: House passes 5B defense spending bill | Pentagon moving forward on Trump military parade | Mattis vows 'ironclad' support for South Korea's defense House passes 5B Pentagon spending bill 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: Mattis dismisses talk he may be leaving | Polish president floats 'Fort Trump' | Dem bill would ban low-yield nukes Dems introduce bill to ban low-yield nukes Dems seek ways to block Trump support for Saudi-led coalition in Yemen MORE (Wash.), Loretta Sanchez (Calif.), Susan Davis (Calif.), James Langevin (R.I.), Rick LarsenRichard (Rick) Ray LarsenTransportation Department watchdog to examine airplane cabin evacuation standards Dems win nail-biter in charity congressional soccer game Overnight Finance: Trump signs repeal of auto-loan policy | Justices uphold contracts that bar employee class-action suits | US, China trade war 'on hold' MORE (Wash.), Jim Cooper (Tenn.), Joe Courtney (Conn.), Niki Tsongas (Mass.), John GaramendiJohn Raymond GaramendiOvernight Defense: Mattis dismisses talk he may be leaving | Polish president floats 'Fort Trump' | Dem bill would ban low-yield nukes Dems introduce bill to ban low-yield nukes Trump is wrong, Dems are fighting to save Medicare and Social Security MORE (Calif.), Hank Johnson (Ga.), Jackie Speier (Calif.), Joaquin Castro (Texas), Tammy Duckworth (Ill.) and Del. Madeleine BordalloMadeleine Mary BordalloOvernight 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 5 things to know about Guam Guam delegate: Constituents 'very concerned' about North Korea threat MORE (Guam).

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

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