Week ahead: Defense bill hits House floor

The annual defense bill is hitting the House floor in the coming week, with lawmakers gearing up for heated debates on funding levels and Pentagon policies.

The 2017 National Defense Authorization Act will go to the House Rules Committee on Monday and likely come to the floor Tuesday.

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Expect a tough fight on how the bill authorizes defense funding. Democrats and the Obama administration are already slamming the House Republican approach.

The bill would authorize $610 billion for defense spending. At issue is $23 billion being shifted from a war fund toward base requirements. The remaining $36 billion in the war fund is also only being authorized through April 2017.

The idea is to have the next president request supplemental war funding when he or she takes office.

Democrats call that approach dangerous, saying it could leave troops deployed overseas without the money they need to keep fighting.

But Republicans say it's dangerous not to have the extra money for base requirements since it would pay for the items troops need to be ready to deploy in the first place.

Expect plenty of other contentious debates on policy, as well. Amendments have already been filed on issues ranging from registering women for the draft to allowing the enlistment of immigrants in the country illegally to passing an authorization for the use of military force against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

In total, 365 amendments have been filed for the bill, but many are sure to get blocked in the Rules Committee and never make it to the floor.

The defense appropriations bill is also making progress in the House. After being approved by the defense appropriations subcommittee this week, the full House Appropriations Committee will mark up the $575 billion bill at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2359. http://1.usa.gov/1qixM4v

The House Armed Services Committee has one hearing scheduled for next week: a subcommittee hearing on foreign military sales at 9 a.m. Tuesday at Rayburn 2212. http://1.usa.gov/1XlBl5q

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing on the Syrian civil war at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 419. http://1.usa.gov/1R1bdHf

A House Foreign Affairs Committee subpanel is scheduled to hold a hearing on the budget request for the State Department's counterterrorism bureau at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Rayburn 2172. http://1.usa.gov/1YnRSpw

Another Foreign Affairs subcommittee will hold a hearing on supporting democracy in Africa at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at Rayburn 2172. http://1.usa.gov/1WsBt5w

 

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