Last Minute Push to Pass NDAA Before Recess

Twenty-one Republican members of Congress, including every subcommittee chairperson of the House Armed Services Committee, have signed a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) urging him to pass the National Defense Authorization Act before the Congress is scheduled to adjourn for the holidays after Dec. 16. The letter, written by Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), who chairs the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, notes that “our nation currently faces more threats than at any point before in our history,” and says the passage of the NDAA for Fiscal 2017 is critical to “restore readiness, reform military health care, extend counterterrorism authorities, and provide needed pay raises for our troops.”

The House passed its version of the NDAA in May, and the Senate did so in June. However, President Barack Obama threatened to veto the Senate version because of proposed reforms of the Defense Department’s acquisitions process. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has also advised Obama to veto the House version of the NDAA because it proposes to use funds from overseas contingency operations to fund long-term military readiness. Work on the NDAA has stalled recently in Congress because of the presidential election on Nov. 8. In early November, the Pentagon asked for supplemental funds for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) last week called for the passage of a $26 billion supplemental defense spending bill before the end of the year.