WASHINGTON — The House Armed Services Committee early Thursday voted to add billions to a list of Defense Department weapon programs from cuts, and signed off on a $495.9 billion base Pentagon budget and an $89.2 billion war account.
In a bipartisan 60-2 vote, the committee approved its version of the national defense authorization act (NDAA), which proposes keeping alive the Air Force’s A-10 attack plane fleet and endorses extra funding for additional fighter jets for the Navy and Marine Corps.
The marathon session ended just after 4:30 a.m. on Thursday, and featured little — and in some cases no — debate about the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan or a Republican-crafted overseas contingency operations (OCO) account opposed by many Democrats and the White House because it inflates defense spending without doing the same for domestic programs.
HASC Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, said the legislation “matches the president’s request and the level [Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin] Dempsey said was the ‘lower-ragged edge’ of what is necessary.”
“The bill advances the vital funding and authorities America’s military requires,” Thornberry said. “At a time of unprecedented threats, uncertainty, and technological change, the NDAA strives to ensure that our forces are agile, efficient, ready, and lethal.”
Ranking Member Adam Smith, D-Wash., said the bill “contains some good provisions,” adding “the world remains a dangerous place and, historically, this bill has provided a vehicle for congress to put its imprint on national security policy.”